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From a Flau try Mcmxlitk Jones 
iu 1744 

RE F £ REN CE . 

/ SfJohn the Evangelist's 
j The J'noty House Cloisters f-r. 
3 The Castle 
t Castle. Bridge 

5 UpperBndge onD° 

6 Lower D" 

7 Struct Gale 

6 /fttjh Street superior 

g Town-Wall 

10 SfMary's Chapel 

a The Bulwark 

12 High Street inferior 

ri Ship Street 

14 Wheat Street 

lo S'Marys Street 

Glamorganshire Street 
Captain's Watk 
Wattvn Cute 


etc/ BowUng Green 
Water Cau 
Bridge Gate 
Usk Bullae 

Lion Lane 
Church Street 
Heal rhydd 
The Postern 
Fen y dnf 






Deputy Registrar of the Archdeaconry of Brecon. 
Enlarged by the notes collected 


(Lord Lieutenant of Brecknockshire). 



3-7^// VOLUME ONE . 

Published and Sold by Blissett, Davies & Co., 14 Bridge Street. 











From a drawing made by Rev. Thos. Price ("Carnhuanawc' 

In the possession of Miss G. E. F. Morgan, Brecon. 


"PXACTLY one hundred years have elapsed since Theophilus Jones published the final 
*-* volume of his History of Brecknockshire. His narrative closes practically, for general 
purposes, with the reign of King Henry the Eighth, though in the Parochial Section he carries 
the history forward to about the year 1800. In the latter department, therefore, more than 
a century awaits a chronicle. 

Since the days when the talented Historian compiled his extensive and interesting work, 
Archaeology has been largely illustrated ; ancient Welsh Literature has been translated by a 
learned Society into the English tongue ; Geology has been written and re-written as facts 
have fallen into their places under the pen of the philosopher ; the finest maps the world has 
ever known have been issued by the Ordnance Survey, rendering a revision of County topo- 
graphy comparatively easy ; and Philology has become a new science. It will, therefore, not 
be necessary to enlarge upon those matters, for by the liberality of publishers the reader will 
find ready to his hand many books dealing with them. 

But in the domain of purely county history, much remains to be added in order that it 
may be carried to the present period. Records of the county have been collated and 
arranged in a manner unknown in 1800. The iron industry of Brecknock has waxed, and 
alas ! waned ; steam has altered and vastly improved the communications with England, 
bringing Brecknock within a few hours' journey of the Metropolis and the great trading ports 
on the Mersey ; towns have sprung into being, and many of the largest houses in the county 
have been built during the 19th century ; people formerly unknown here have made it their 
home, and would fain record their modern fortunes after the great names of those who, in 
earlier times, moulded the history of the county. 

The old bridle paths have given place to good roads laid in every direction throughout 
the county, making transit easy for man and beast ; waterways, established over a century 
ago, and for many years extensively used for the conveyance of merchandize, have been 
gradually but surely superseded by various railway systems ; elective bodies now control 
the business affairs of the county, for so many years managed exclusively by the magistrates, 
and tliis method of popular representative government has been extended to every town and 
almost every parish ; the criminal law is administered with strict regard to the cause of 
justice, and the punishment of offenders is no longer inflicted with barbarity ; there has been 
a gradual but gratifying abatement of serious crime ; a crude and limited system of education, 
in operation up to quite recent times, has been replaced by a more generous and perfect 
National code, rendering possible the admission of even the humblest into the Universities, to the 
learned professions, and the service of the Church and State ; our ancient Royal foundation, 
Christ College, rescued from the list of perishing and mismanaged institutions, equipped with 
new buildings and competent teachers, and placed under vigorous government, has developed 
into one of the most efficient educational establishments in Wales ; and added to this 
we have those various Secondary Schools provided under the Welsh Intermediate Educa- 
tion Act. 

The enactment of laws relating to water and sanitation has materially added to the 
comfort, health, and happiness of the people. The old candle illuminating power, replaced by 
oil lamps, and subsequently by gas and electricity, no longer provides employment for the tallow 
chandler, in which business many families of respectability were engaged and amassed wealth 


and influence ; and most, though not all, of the old woollen and milling factories have dis- 
appeared. Land cultivation has undergone a material change, rural populations have steadily 
decreased, leaving ruined cottages to mark the places where once resided families wholly 
engaged in agricultural pursuits. Increased activities in the coal and iron industries, employ- 
ment upon railways and the like, and migration into the towns in search of the larger wages 
offered, have undoubtedly been factors in promoting this general exodus from the land, but 
the fact remains that in many parts of the county the plough is rarely brought into use, the 
farmer contenting himself in too many instances with the task of rearing stock for the markets, 
and thereby diminishing the opportunities of employment for the agricultural labourer. 

These are but some of the changes which have taken place since the first appearance of 
Theophilus Jones' work in 1809. The recital of them will give the reader some idea of the 
additional material needed to complete the narrative as between that period and the present. 

From the preface to Jones' first volume, we learn that the work owed its origin to the 
perusal of the collections of a friend of his, whose talents, said Jones, were much better cal- 
culated to elucidate the subjects and record the events here treated of, than it had fallen to 
his lot to possess ; but a determination on the part of that friend not to appear before the 
public, and his wish that Jones should undertake a history of their native county, and the 
kind promise of his assistance, induced Theophilus Jones to commence and encouraged him 
to persevere in a labour which he described as " foreign to my profession, though congenial 
to my feelings and my pursuits." 

But even this assistance and encouragement from his friend did not relieve the task of 
very grave responsibilities and difficulties. The Historian's enquiries and pursuit _ after 
knowledge evidently made him an object of suspicion to many, for we find him writing : 
" Should the Historian seek access to them [documents], and should that Historian unfortunately 

be of the profession of the law, suspicion is alive and prudence bolts the door against 

the intruder, who it is supposed can have no other motive for his inquiries than the discovery 
of objections to titles, the propagation of scandal, or the abrasion of old sores which have long 
cicatrized." But notwithstanding this, Jones was able to get together for publication a mass 
of information relating to Wales and Brecknockshire which found no rival in any work pub- 
lished in his time upon any other Welsh county. 

With all the impediments encountered, Jones fortunately found many whom he was able 
to thank for their assistance. He pays a grateful tribute to the memory of the Duke of 
Beaufort of his day, who not only offered a liberal contribution towards the expenses of the 
work, but also immediately attended to his communications ; and he likewise acknowledges 
a similar obligation to Sir Charles Morgan, of Tredegar. " To some respectable noblemen," 
he adds, " whose time was so completely occupied in the service of the State, or the duties 
of the Senate, that it became inconvenient to them to return a written answer to my appli- 
cation, I am indebted for their good wishes, as well as their benevolent intentions of 
contributing a few eleemosynary guineas towards the expense of the publication and the 
support of the publisher, which have been occasionally most kindly communicated to me 
by their agents ; and to many of the gentlemen and inhabitants of the county who were 
really anxious that I should prosecute what they considered as a public utility, and who 
were ready to assist in the execution of it, I return my most unfeigned thanks." 

The first volume was dedicated by Jones to the Rev. Thomas Payne, rector of Llanbedr 
and Partricio and vicar of Devynock in the county of Brecknock, "as an acknowledgment of 
the assistance he has received and in testimony of the friendship which he feels as proud 
thus publicly to avow as he is happy in private life to experience." This portion of the 
History was published in 1805 at £2 12s. 6d. to subscribers only. 

The second volume, issued in two parts, was not published until 1809, at a cost of £4 to 
subscribers, making a total for the completed work of £6 12s. 6d. The preface to the second 
volume is principally devoted to answering criticisms of the first volume, but Jones finds 

(Photographed from a book-plate in Lampeter Library). 

The House in Lion Street where Theo. [ones lived and died 


opportunity to thank several gentlemen for assistance rendered, including Dr. Turton, Rev. 
Mr. Nares of the British Museum, Mr. Townsend of the Herald's Office, Mr. William Owen 
Pugh, the Rev. Walter Davies, Mr. Penry Williams of Peupont, Mr. L- W. Dillwyn, the Rev. 
Thomas Williams of Brecon, Miss Bird, and the Rev. James Donne of Oswestry. 

This work of Jones's was the first real attempt at a county history within the Principality, 
and the first book above the size of a pamphlet ever printed and published within the county 
of Brecon, if we except a few Bibles from the Trevecca printing press. That typographical errors 
should appear is not to be wondered at, especially as the Author had had no experience in 
reading press proofs. Indeed, considering the primitive condition of the printing trade in 
Breconshire in those days, the marvel is that the book should have been so well produced. The 
second volume was dedicated by Jones in these words : " To the Rev. Edward Davies of 
Olveston, in the County of Gloucester, author of Celtic Researches, &c, the associate of his 
youth, the kind correspondent and assistant in his literary pursuits, the sincere friend in 
mature age, and oh ! may he add, in trembling hope, ' si nwdo digni crimus,' the partaker 
of a blissful eternity, this volume is gratefully inscribed by the author." 

Miss G. E. F. Morgan, of Buckingham Place, Brecon, has written, ably and sympathetically, 
a Biography of Theoplulus Jones 1 , and we have extracted therefrom the following particulars 
relating to the County Historian. 

Theophilus Jones was the only son of the Rev. Hugh Jones, Vicar of Llangammarch and 
Llywel, and Prebendary of Boughrood, Llanbedr Painscastle, whose father, another Hugh 
Jones, married Mary, daughter of Rees Lloyd, of Nantmel, a member of the family of Lloyd 
of Rhosferig and Aberannell. Our Historian was thus of the line of Elystan Glodrydd, Prince 
of Ferregs, whose descendants peopled the hundred of Builth, and through his paternal grand- 
mother he was connected with the Jeffreyses of Brecon and the Watkinses of Penoyre. 

The Rev. Hugh Jones married Elinor, elder daughter of the Rev. Theophilus Evans, vicar 
of Llangammarch from 1738 to 1703, in which year he resigned the living in favour of his 
son-in-law, Mr. Hugh Jones ; Mr. Evans was also vicar of St. David's, Brecon, to which he 
was inducted 8th June, 1739. It is always interesting to note the hereditary influences 
which have helped to form the tastes and characters of remarkable men, and no account of 
Theophilus Jones's life would be complete that did not touch on the career of his maternal 
grandfather, who seems to have been a man of considerable ability, and is spoken of by his 
grandson with affectionate respect. 

Theophilus Evans was the fifth son of Charles Evans, of Pen-y-wenallt, Cardiganshire, of 
the tribe of Gwynfardd Dyfed, whose father had suffered even to imprisonment for his 
loyalty to Charles I. He was born in 1694, ordained deacon in 1718, and priest in 1719, by 
the Bishop of St. David's. The friendship existing between his countrymen the Lloyds of 
Millfield and the Gwynnes of Glanbran, induced him to settle in this county. 

Mr. Evans lived at Llwyn Einon, in Llangammarch (now a farmhouse), and on his death 
left the little estate to Theophilus Jones, who honoured the memory of his grandfather by a 
peculiar attachment to the place. The Rev. Theophilus Evans died September 11th, 1767, 
aged 73, and was buried in the Churchyard of Llangammarch, " near the stile entering from 
the east. " 

Theophilus Jones was born in Brecon on 18th October, 1759, and on 8th November 
following he was baptized in the chapel of St. Mary in that town. His father was at that 
time curate of St. David's, Brecon, and lived in a charming old house in Lion Street (one of 
the many town residences of the county families, who used to come to Brecon for the Assizes 
and other gatherings), where Dr. George Bull, Bishop of St. David's, had died earlier in the 

1 " Theophilus Jones, Historian : His Life, Letters, and Literary Remains. Biography by Miss G. E. F. Morgan. 
Letters, &e., compiled by Edwin Davies, of Brecon." Demy Svo", 7s. 6d. ; published by Davies & Co., 14 Bridge 
Street, Brecon. Portraits, &c. 


century. The future Historian passed some of his early years at Llwyn Einon, and, young 
though he was, there can be little doubt that his antiquarian tastes were awakened and 
fostered by his grandfather, from whom he inherited valuable materials for the History. The 
Rev. Thomas Price, who was born in the hundred of Builth less than a generation later, has 
left a graphic picture of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of that district : 
" Brought up, as I have been, in the remote parts of the Principality, often do I dwell with 
pleasure upon the recollections of my infancy : when in the winter's night I sat in the circle 
around the fire under the spacious chimney-piece, and listened to the songs and traditions of 
the peasantry, or to the poetry of David ab Gwilym read by the firelight ; and if but a 
harper should chance to visit us happy was the day, yea, I might say, earthly speaking, 

blessed was the time About the year 1750 the young people in Wales were very 

fond of dancing. They met together frequently in parties, and danced country dances, some 
of which had four and twenty variations, all of which were to be danced through ; and 
I think there were variations in the figure of the dance to correspond to those of the tune. 

The introduction of Methodism made a great change in the habits of the people. 

Dancing was altogether discouraged as profane." 

Theophilus Jones was educated at Christ's College, Brecknock, which was then a large 
and flourishing school, attended by the sons of the surrounding country gentry, amongst 
whom he found many friends, and here began the life-long regard which existed between him 
and the Rev. Edward Davies, of Olveston, co. Gloucester, the learned author of Celtic Researches , 
Mythology of the British Druids, and other works. During the time he was at Christ's College, 
the Head Master was the Rev. David Griffith (grandfather of the late Rev. Charles Griffith, M.A., 
of Glyn Celyu, Brecon), an accomplished scholar, of whom he spoke in after years as "the 
respected and respectable preceptor of my youth." His parents having decided that he should 
become a lawyer, Theophilus Jones was articled to Mr. Penoyre Watkins, a solicitor in large 
practice then living in Brecon ; and having passed through this period with great credit, 
upon the expiration of his articles he entered the profession on his own account, and continued 
in it for many years, practising with equal reputation and success as a solicitor and attorney 
in his county town. 

He married Mary, daughter of Rice Price, Esq., of Porth-y-Rhyd, in the county of Carmarthen 
(who was a member of the family of Price of Cilgwyu, a branch of the Prices of Glyidlech, in 
Ystradgunlais), by Mary, daughter of Daniel Williams, Esq., of Llwynwormwood. A vacancy 
occurring in the Deputy Registrarship of the Archdeaconry of Brecon, he was appointed to 
that office, which he held until his death. To this circumstance we are probably indebted for 
the History, which will be for ever associated with the name of Theophilus Jones. Amongst 
the documents committed to his care were the records of the various parishes for centuries 
past, in the perusal of which he must have obtained a great amount of the information he 
afterwards introduced into liis History. There is every reason to believe that he had no 
natural inclination for the profession to which he had been brought up, his chief delight being 
in literary studies and antiquarian research, but it was not until the year 1800 or 1801 that 
he seriously entertained the idea of writing the Histoiy of his native county. 

His father, the Rev. Hugh Jones, died 2nd April, 1799 (and was buried in St. David's Church- 
yard with his wife Elinor, who died 24th July, 1786), and this circumstance may have had much 
to do with the determination he now formed. He found it was quite impossible to write the 
History and at the same time to carry on his other duties. On their marriage Mr. and Mrs. 
Theophilus Jones lived in a large and comfortable house in Mount Street, Brecon, now converted 
into an inn known as " The George," the rooms of which are oak-panelled and lofty, where they 
remained until his father's death, when they moved to the house in Lion Street, in which the 
History was written. In a letter, dated Oct. 4th, 1801, to the Rev. Edward Davies, he says : 

" I've such a room ! such a study ! it is at the back part of the house, no noise or 

interruption, except now and then a call into the office I laugh, I laugh at the 

imps of gloominess." Having a small patrimony of his own, he determined, with his wife's 

PREFACE. xiii 

consent, to give up his practice, and live upon his private means, so that he might have time 
to prosecute his labours in compiling the History, which he succeeded in doing, though he lost 
upwards of £400 in the undertaking. He disposed of his practice to his partner, Mr. Samuel 
Church, of Ffrwdgrech, reserving to himself the Deputy Registrarship, which enabled him to 
have access to the various deeds, wills, &c, which were so important in his researches, though 
it was not until 1809 that he was able to write : " Done with the law ! " 

Having now the leisure in which to pursue the great object of his life, he spared neither time 
nor expense in its execution. He personally visited every parish in the county ; he copied the 
mural and monumental inscriptions in every church (many of which have entirely disappeared 
during the ' ' restorations ' ' of recent years) ; he collected the folk-lore and legends from the 
aged inhabitants ; he gathered all the information that could be acquired, and industriously 
gleaned from every repository that was open to his inspection, the contents of such documents 
as might enlarge, illustrate, or enrich his work. His perfect acquaintance with the language 
of his country enabled him to employ them to the best advantage. He availed himself largely 
of Hugh Thomas's MS, " Essay towards a History of Brecknockshire," which is preserved at 
the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and a portion of which is in the possession of Mr. George Hay, 
of Brecon. No man could have taken greater pains than Mr. Jones did, and we may be quite 
sure that whatever errors occur in the earlier part of his genealogies (and they are few), 
they are correct for at least one hundred years before the time he wrote, which period would 
include all his original work. So painstaking a man would have carefully recorded from the 
lips of the oldest members of the various families the names of their immediate ancestors, and 
any circumstances of interest connected with them. The orignal MS. of the History was in 
the late Mr. Joseph's library, and he bequeathed it to Mr. Buckley, of Bryn-y-Caerau, 

Theo. Jones's last illness is supposed to have arisen from the effect of gout upon a 
constitution much weakened by repeated attacks of the malady. He lingered for some time, 
and after severe suffering died 15th January, 1812, at his house in Lion Street, Brecon (now 
the property of Captain D. Hughes Morgan, J. P. for the County and Borough of Brecon, and 
H.S. in 1900, and the residence of Dr. T. Price Thomas), where his father, the Rev. Hugh 
Jones, had lived and died. He was buried at Llangammarch, in the same grave as his maternal 
grandfather, whose memory through life he held in the highest veneration. " When I am 
dead," he said, " let me be buried in the grave of my grandfather, and let my inscription 
be : ' Here lies Theophilus Jones, the grandson of Theophilus Evans.' " His widow erected 
in Christ's College Chapel, Brecon (where he had been educated when a boy, of which he had 
been for many years chapter clerk, and in the improvement of which he had ever taken the 
deepest interest), a white and grey marble tablet to his memory, with the following 
inscription 1 : — "To the memory of Theophilus Jones, Esq., late Chapter Clerk of this 
Collegiate Church, and Deputy Registrar of the Archdeaconry of Brecknock. He died January 
the 15th, 1812, aged 51. His remains, with those of his maternal grandfather, Theophilus 
Evans, Clk., lie interred in the Cemetery of Llangammarch. This marble but records his 
name — the History of this, his loved, his native County, will long survive and be his Monument. 
The above Theophilus Jones was the sou of the Rev. Hugh Jones, who was Prebendary of 
Boughrood, Llanbedr Painscastle, of this Collegiate Church." 

The tombstone in Llangammarch Churchyard was restored in the year 1889, and there is 
also a memorial tablet in that Church. 

Previous to 1898, Theophilus Jones's History was known to but few persons. Occasionally 
a copy was put up for sale at a public auction, and realized prices varying from £8 to £10 ; 
indeed a copy was sold for as much as £l± 14s. In that year, however, Mr. Edwin Davies of 
Brecon, undertook the publication of a complete re-print at a price which brought the book 

1 There is some mistake as to his age, but the inscription is given as copied from the tablet. On his tombstone 
in Llangammarch Churchyard, the Historian's age is stated to be 52. 


within the reach of a larger circle of readers. This new edition was speedily sold, and very 
many of the copies were subsequently bought up at enhanced prices for the American book 
market ; and in 1902 a third edition was projected. 

Previous to this, the late Lord Glanusk, whose interest and activities ixr county matters 
were very great, began a collection of the materials necessary to continue the County History to 
his time, and some two years after the date of his lamented death on January 8th, 1906, his 
lordship's papers relating to this work were tabulated and arranged for publication. Where 
a particular parish had not been completed by Lord Glanusk, the materials have since been 
collected in harmony with the plan he adopted. 

It appears to have been no part of his lordship's idea to interfere with the general scope of 
the old Historian's work, but rather to supplement it with such details as were needed to carry 
the General and Parochial History to a later date, and add thereto further notes upon the 
Sheriffs, Members of Parliament, the County families, and Mayors of Brecknock. His lordship 
also made copious extracts from the County Records, which shed a new light upon county 

In another part of this work, some reference has been made to the many public services 
rendered to the county by the late Lord Glanusk, and it only remains to add here an expression 
of sincere regret that his lordship should have been removed by death before he had carried 
this third edition through the press. A conscientious effort has been made, at the expenditure 
of nearly two year's anxious labour, to produce this Edition on hues which were thought to 
be those intended by his lordship. 

The work has been divided into four volumes, with an index to each. The thick paper 
copies are bound in four volumes, but the other copies are bound two volumes in one. Many 
of the numerous engravings now added are from photographs collected by Lord Glanusk, some 
have been obtained from persons interested in the work, and the others from photographs 
specially taken for the purpose. All the plates in the original edition have been reproduced. 

Grateful acknowledgments are tendered to those ladies and gentlemen who have so kindly 
answered correspondence relating to this work, for amending and adding to family pedigrees, 
and in other ways assisting ; and especially to those noblemen, ladies, and gentlemen who 
have contributed to the publication by the addition of their names to the list of subscribers, 
which will be found printed at the end of the fourth volume. 

14 Bridge Street, EDWIN DAVIES. 

Brecon, July, 1909 


(Drawn about 1845). 

(Drawn about 1845). 



Of its ancient and present Name. Definition of both. — The District in which it formerly was and now is 
comprehended.— Boundaries described. — Extent in Length and Breadth.— Population. Principal Rivers. —Mountains 
and Vallies.— General Nature of the Soil.— Observations upon the Climate and Atmosphere. — Rainfall. — 
Place Names. 


BRECKNOCKSHIRE, now also called Breconsrtre, was anciently known by the name of Garth- 
marthrin, or Garthmadrin. Brecknock, on the authority of ancient manuscripts, is said 
to be identical with Garthmarthrin. The grandsire of Brychan is described as "King of 
Morganwg (Glamorgan), Gwent (Monmouth), and Garthmarthrin." " Brychan inherited from his 
mother the territory of Garthmarthrin, which he called after his own name Brycheiniog." The latter 
portion of the name GaTthmarthrin closely resembles the last syllables of C&evmarthen. The likeness 
becomes more striking as the first syllable of each is considered. Caer means a camp: Garth is akin 
to yard, garden, and the French jardin. It signifies a place guarded. On an old plan of Tintern 
Abbey the cloistered court is styled '"the Garth." The word occurs more than once in Brecknock as 
a hill name, and is found in composition in Tal-garth, Garth-brengy ; in Pembrokeshire it appears as 
Fish-guard. The entire name Garth-marthrin and Caer-marthrin seems to be nearly identical. South 
Wales was not divided into counties until the time of King Henry VIII., and it is very possible 
that the centre of the county of Brecknock and I he county of Caermarthen may in remote days 
have formed one district under the same rules and be known under names almost alike. 

Brecknock, or Breconshire, as the County Council has decided to style the county in official docu- 
ments, is one of the many local names which have become the playground of writers on the subject. 
Some have ventured to assert that as Wrekin (the Salopian mountain) is derived from Gwrychin, a 
bristle, Brycheiniog may be a corruption of Gwrychiniog, in a land bristling with hills; they feel them- 
selves strengthened in this view by the fact that some neighbouring counties derive their names from 
physical characteristics — Pen-bro, the headland; Mor-gan-wy, land of the sea-song. No evidence exists 
in favour of this allegation. Brecknock, written to the varying orthography of the times. Brecheiniog 
Breckiniawg, and otherwise, but always in a manner suggesting a similar sound, has been the name of 
at least part of the county from very early flays. We who dwell within the county are content to 
believe that Brychan, a prince ruling 400 and 450 A.D., named his county after himself —Brycheiniog, 
the land of Brychan. 


The termination auc, awg, wg, or og, is adjectival. In the laws of the Welsh King, Howell the 
Good, bearing date 940 A.D., Taeog (-Ty-og) is used to mean a peasant, the inhabitant of a house (Ty). 
Though Brycheiniog is not therein mentioned, the syllable wg seems to have been common as a terri- 
torial termination, the first syllable being, at least sometimes, the rulers named: "South Wales is in 
three parts, Rheinwg, that is the county <</ Rhein, and Rielhvg, and Morganwg." 

There is a very old chronicle of Wales, A>i>iuli.< Cambric?, the approximate date 12SS a.d. It is 
written in Latin, but is considered to have been translated from a Welsh manuscript, the Welsh names 
being given in the forms prevalent in early times. In this; it is three times stated that "the North- 
men" (meaning the Danes) "came and devastated Brecknock "--" Nordmani veneruni el vastaverunt 
Bricheniauc {Brecheinawc — Brechenaivc) ; — and the death of Rhys, son of Teudwr, at Brecknock, by 
the hands of the French, as the Normans were then called, is thus given : " 1091 Resus films Teudyr. 
rector dextratis partis a Francis Brechenawc occisus est" — Breckenawc being almost identical in 
sound with Brecknock. 


In the Brut y Tywysogion (the " Chronicles of the Princes "), written in the 14th century, it is 
stated that " Ithel, King of Gwent, was slain a.d. 848 by the men of Bryeheinawg " ; it is also re- 
corded there, with a delicate appreciation of the relative importance of the neighbouring countries, that 
" in 894 the Northmen devastated England, Brecheiniog, Morganwg, Gwent, Buallt, and Gwenllwg." 
The name of the county, differing sometimes in a single letter, indicates throughout the book a pro- 
nounciation closely equivalent to Brecknock. 

In Dugdale\i Monasticon, copies of ancient charters are given — "Carta ad Cceobium 
in Walliam." No. 1 begins : " Le premier conqueror des tres Cantrefs de la terre de Breckenock estayt 
Bernard de Newmarch." No. 3 is in Latin, and begins: " Sciant omnes quod ego dedi Deo et Ecclesio 
Sancti Johanis de Brecknock,'''' etc. (Know all men that I have given to God and the Church of St. 
John of Brecknock, etc.) Instances have now been given from Welsh, Norman, and Latin sources 
when translated from the Welsh, in all of which the name of the district, now the centre of the 
county, is Breckenawc and not Brecon. 

To those who prefer English authorities, may be given Leland's Itinerary in the time of Henry 
VIII : " Then to Brekenok, when nere to I cam downe hilles," etc. ; " Usk Bridge at Brekenoc 
was thrown by the rage of Uske water ; it was not by rain, but by snow melted that cam out of the 
mountains." Elementary schools existed not in the middle ages, but men spelled as it seemed to them 
they heard. We may close our list of Authorities with Mr. William Shakespeare, who in his play 
" King] Richard Third " (Act 4, scene 2), makes the Duke of Buckingham say— 
" Oh, let me think of starting, and begone 
To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on." 
When, in the reign of King Henry VIII., South Wales was divided into counties, it was natural to 
enact that certain " Lordshipps," etc., " shall be reputed as membres of the counties or shire of 
Brekenok." Since that time " Brecon " appears in some Acts of Parliament, and it is now considered 
permissible to use Brecknock or Brecon at the pleasure of the writer. 


Theophilus Jones says : " For the time when this appellation (Garthmadrin) was assumed or con- 
ferred, the historian looks in vain ; not even the glimmering light of fable or tradition can he hope to 
receive or expect to conduct him in his researches. It is however, worthy of remark, that this name 
remained in Brecknockshire until the dissolution of religious houses in Great Britain, or at least until 
the attainder of the last Duke of Buckingham of the name of Stafford ; for in the rolls in the Aug- 
mentation Office, in the 17th of Queen Mary, among his possessions, are recited 'rents of assize 
amounting to £11 15s. 8d. from tenants at will in Garthmadryn,' within the lordship of Brecknock. 

" This word is compounded of Garth and Madrin. The former in the British language, signifies a 
clift, or a precipitous, or abrupt eminence, and is a synonym with Allt or Oallt, though the latter is 
generally covered with wood. Madrin is an obsolete word for a fox, which has been since succeeded 
by Llwynog, or the inhabitant of the bushes ; and afterwards by Cadno, pronounced Canddo, the only 
name by which this nocturnal depredator is at present known in South Wales ; assuming therefore, (as 
we fairly may), that at a very remote period of antiquity, these animals prouled without controul or 
interruption through the woody brakes which covered the vallies of this country, until upon the 
approach of man they were driven into their fastnesses, where they resided for such a length of time 
as to characterize this part of the principality, and from whence they were driven and nearly des- 
troyed, by that favourite of the Deity, on whom was graciously conferred ' dominion over the fish of 
the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every 
creeping thing that creepeth upon the face of the earth. 1 The appellation of Garthmadryn, under 
such circumstances, must be admitted to be peculiarly appropriate to Breconshire. whose surface is a 
succession of undulations, and whose general description may be said with Leland, to be very mou- 
ld ni us. 

" Brecknockshire derives its present appellation from a prince or regulus of that country, of the 
name of Brvehan, who ruled over it about the year of Christ 400, and died in 450, or thereabouts. 
From him, 1 this part of the principality of Wales was called the Land of Brychan, which in the 

1 It has been suggested, with some degree of plausibility, peculiarly applicable to these three shires, the etymology is novel, 

that as Wrekin (perhaps from Crugyn, a hillock, or Gwrychin, not perfectly idiomatical. such a change in the initial letter 

a bristle) means an abrupt or steep mountain ; Brecheiniog unusual, and as the concurring opinion of ages and authors who 

may be a corruption of Wrekimog, or rather Cruginiog or Gwry- have written upon the subject have established the right of this 

chiniog, full of mountains, or sharp ridges of hills, resembling British prince to give the name to Breconshire, he may as well be 

the b.'istlos on a hog's back, which it is said is confirmed by the allowed to retainthat hunour in future (if such it be), and with 

neighbouring counties being called Mor gan wg, the maritime due reference to the antiquarian, further conjectures may be 

county ; Penfro, the head of the valley, or promontory on the said to be unnecessary. 
western extremity of this island ; but "though this definition is 


British language has been written at different periods, and according to the differing orthography of 
the times. Brechiniawg. Breehiniog, and Brecheiniog. 

'•Before the aet of Henry VIII.. which divided Wales into counties, the English with propriety 
called this tract of country Brecknock, or the dominion or lordship of Brecknock, which has a near 
resemblance in sound to Brechiniauc or Breehiniog. This termination auc, any. wg or og, ' is intended 
in the British tongue to give to proper names • a loci! habitation,' and generally signifies a region or 
territory, of which the preceding part of the word is descriptive. Since the statute above alluded to 
there is no error (as has been sometimes supposed) in calling this district Breconshire, quasi Brychan's 
shire ; and as custom has sanctioned the indiscriminate use of this latter appellation, as well as that of 
Brecknockshire, the reader will not lie surprized, or attribute it to inattention, if both these names 
occur in the course of this work. 

'"Though we know not with any certainty the period when Britain, and particularly that part 
of it which lies westward of the Severn and the Doe, called formerly, and since by the natives Cymru, 
and now by the English Wales, was first, inhabited, yet it is clear from the Roman stations and forts, 
as well as their public roads and works, still visible in this country, that it must have been peopled 
(thinly, as has already been observed), before they invaded this island. The introduction of the troops 
and garrisons of this enemy into the more fertile parts of the kingdom, in all probability, drove many 
to settle in those mountainous regions, and the subsequent incursions added to their numbers ; though 
even as late as the 5th century, we find the region of which we are about to treat, still described by 
the name of Garthmadrin. Wales, however, even at that time, was divided into North and South ; 
the former was called by the Welsh. Gwynedd, or y Gogleddir, and the latter Deheubarth, (and some- 
times Dyfed), which the Romans latinized into Venedotia and Demetia, to which two provinces a third 
was afterwards added, called Powys. 


" South Wales was again divided (but at what period it is difficult to determine, as will be seen 
by and by), into Syllwg or Siluria, and Dyfed or Demetia ; but etymologists are as much at a loss 
to define these words, as historians are to ascertain the boundaries of the two countries. Syllwg, says 
Edward Williams, means. ' a county abounding in beautiful prospects ; ' consequently the Syllwyr or 
Silures were men who delighted to look at beautiful prospects, or in other words, lovers of landscape. 
This is very ingenious, very pretty, and very poetical. The learned Dr. Whitaker, in his genuine history of 
the Britons, tells us that' Silures means ' Sil or ill ur, the great men, or they are great men.' 

" Dyfed, says Baxter in his glossary, is derived from defaid, sheep, because this country abounded with 
pasturage for sheep ; and Rowland Jones of the Inner Temple, in his Origin of Languages and Nations (London, 
1764) pronounces the word to have been originally Di-fyd, without habitation, abode, or livelihood ! Neither of 
t hese attempts at derivation arc int it led to the smallest attention, and the latter is absurd. Dyfed means precisely 
the same as the modern British word for South Wales, Deheubarth, which has superseded it ; indeed the 
latter may be said to be a corruption or alteration of Deheufod or Deaufod, the country on the right ; 
Bod being a common termination in that language, and signifying a place of residence, as Cwmbod or 
Cwmwd, now pronounced Comot, a residence in the vale ; and Hafod or Haf-bod, a summer retreat. 
It is indeed remarkable, that the Welsh have no other name for the South than Deheu, the right ; an 
inhabitant therefore of that country, when describing the four points of the compass, is supposed to 
stand in the West with his face towards the East, in which situation, he calls the North y Gogledd, 
(a radical Welsh word), y Gogledd-dir. or y Gogleddf od ; and the South and neighbouring regions, 
Deheu, Deheubarth, Deneu-dir, or Deheu-fod, the land on the right, or on the right hand. 
The East and West are called y Ddwyrain, and y Gorlewin ; two of the most beautiful and 
poetical words which any language Can boast of. The first may be translated the active or lively, and 
joyous arising, and reminds us of that sublime passage in the Psalms of David, in which it is said the 
sun ' cometh as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course,' and 
the latter word means, a resting place on high ; both these expressions are now nearly obsolete, and 
the points are in South Wales generally described by the English names, even by those who speak the 
Welsh language. But to return to Dyfed (in which province we apprehend Breconshire was included, 
notwithstanding the general opinion is to the contrary)- Giraldus Cambrensis 3 makes the province so 
called, to comprehend the whole of South Wales, while Sir John Price and Powel 4 confine it to Pem- 

1 Aug or eg at the pud of a word, also sometimes signifies the - A writer in the Cambrian Register (vol. 2. p. S) agrees in 

inhabitant of a place or country, as Tv, a 1 se ; Taeawg or placing Breconshire among the Dimetse. 

Taeog, the inhabitant of a house, a peasant, &c. [Hywel Dda's 3 Itm. passim. Cambriae descriptio. 

laws.) In this it has an adjective quality, which cannot well be * I>.'« i ipti'.n of Wales, pretixed to Powel's history. Powel 3 

translated into English, or at least not without much circuity. hist, of Wales. 


brokeshire alone; others have supposed that it "consisted of Cardiganshire only:' and Warrington 1 
says, Monmouthshire and the whole of South Wales were in Demetia, excepting Radnorshire. Camden, 
upon the authority of Ptolomy, asserts, that the Dimetee inhabited Caermarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, 
and Cardiganshire. But let us see what Ptolomy says, (we use a translation published at Frankfort, in 
lli()5) : 

Iterum sub dictis populis (Trinoantea aut Trinobantes) sunt metae aliter Dimetie in quibus urbes 


His magis oritntalts Silyres sunt in quibus urbs 

Bulleum. - 


" Here then we have one city with its ' muris coctilibus ' safe enough. The Muridunum or 
Maridunum of the ancients, has been universally admitted to be the modern Caermarthen ; but ask 
where Loventinum or Loventium was, 

'Twas here, 'twas there, 

At Nova Zembla, or the Lord knows where. 

"If it was situate, as Camden conjectures, where Llangorse pool or Brecknock mere now is, 
there is an end of the difficulty at once, and Brecknockshire is part of Dyfed from the evidence of 
the author whom he himself quotes. 3 One of Camden's annotators having heard of the discovery of 
some old ruins and bricks in Cardiganshire, has, from the similarity of the sounds, placed Lovantium 
as he calls it, at Llannio issa, in that county ; this is something like Fluellin's Macedon and Mon- 
mouth, for there are certainly Is in both ; 4 but if every Llan in Wales be a Loventium, we shall 
have cities enough to supply the continent of Europe. But let us hear Camden's own words, for he 
certainly forgets that he is in Demetia, when he talks upon the subject. According to his arrange- 
ment, speaking of Llynsavaddan or Llangorse mere, he says, 5 (and says truly), ' it hath been an 
antient tradition in this neighbourhood, that where the lake is now. there was formerly a city, which 
being swallowed up by an earthquake, resigned its place to the waters ; and to confirm this, they 
allcdge besides other arguments, that all the highways in this country tend to the lake ; which, if 
true, what other city may we suppose on the river Lleweny, 6 but Loventium, placed by Ptolomy in 
this tract, which, though I have diligently searched for, yet there appears no where any remains of the 
name, ruins, or situation of it.' If therefore, Loventium was not here, it may be very safely asserted, 
that all vestiges of it elsewhere are totally effaced, and that all further attempts to ascertain its site 
can only end in idle conjecture and useless labour. 


"Some of those who wish to support Camden's opinion, that Breconshire was part of Siluria, have 
said, that Builth in that county, was the antient Bulleum Silurum ; but though Builth has a greater 
resemblance to Bulleum, than Llannio issa to Loventium, it is the adjacent country or hundred of 
Builth only which has been called Buallt, or Gwlad Fuallt, the land of Boscage. The town which is 
not of the highest antiquity, has always gone by the name of Llanfair or Llanvair ymhuallt, Saint 
.Mary's in Builth ; and at this day, any one who says in the Welsh language, Yr ydwyfi'n byw 
ymhuallt, (I live in Builth,) is understood to mean that he lives in the country, and not in the town of 
Builth. Upon the authority therefore of Camden alone, supported or rather unsupported as he is, if 
not contradicted by the historian whom he quotes, rests the present general belief that the inhabitants 
of Breconshire were Silurcs, and that the country was not part of the province of Dyfed ; for we lay 
no great stress (as far as it regards this question) upon a dispute at a very early period, between a 
bishop of Llandaff and a bishop of Sahit David's about the lands of Ystradyw and Ewyas ; as it 
frequently happened formerly, as at present, that a diocese had possessions in two provinces. But if 
the conjecture as to Llangorse pool's being the site of Loventium be correct, or if Giraldus Cambrcnsis 

i Warrington's hist, of Wales, vol. i. s vo. edit. p. 227. Europe, said " To the westward of Little Tartary is France, on 

- Tins is a strange description. " much to the West of these the east of which is Switzerland." 

(the Trinoantes or Trinobantes) are tin- Metse or Dimeta?, among :; Note in Camden's Britannia, or Cardiganshire. 

"I i are situated tin cities of Loventium and Maridunum, ' Since the above was written, we have 1 n informed that there 

Ac." To the westward of the Trmoantes or Trinobantes (the are evidently the remains of the works of the Romans at Llannio ; 

inhabitants of Middlesex and Essex) were tin- Catieuchlani, or we are by no means inclined to deny that that people had a station, 

inhabitants <>f Buckinghamshire; then proceeding westward, and perhaps a very eonsul.Talile one in this place, but we are not 

tin- Attivliat.-s, ,, r inhabitants of Berkshire; then the Dobuni, prepared to admit the inference, that it must be the site of 

or in. 'ii .it Gloucestershire; then the Sihu-es, or men of Mon- Loventium. 

mouthshire, Glamorganshire, and Herefordshire ; and lastly, •"> Camden's Brecknockshire, 

westward of nil these were tin- Dimetse ; so that tins is pretty <5 Llevenni, is pronounced Llynvy. Surely there is more of 

much to the same effect as if a geographer describing modern Loventium in the name of this river than in Llannio issa. 


be accurate, though he proves rather too much, Camden must be wrong ; and as the mistake of so 
respectable an author, first raised and has since continued tins error, so that it is now become 
inveterate, and perhaps after all, incorrigible, we trust it will not be necessary to apologize, if tics 
subject should require some further discussion, as well as consideration. 


"Among the laws of Hywel Dda (an authority infinitely superior to Ptolomy or Camden upon 
this subject) we have an account of the religious houses in Dyfed, belonging to the see of St. David's, 
among which, are Llandegemman and Llangeneu ; but as the book is rather scarce, though to be had 
in most public libraries, we shall quote the words: 

Am saith ysgopty Dyfed.' Concerning the seven religious hous.-s of Demetia. 

Saith ysgopty sydd yn Nyfed, on yw Mynyw yn eisteddfa There are seven religious houses ,u Dyfed. one i^ at Menevia, 

arbennig, a Mynywyw'r penna ynghymru ; ail yw egiwys [smael ; the cathedral, on. I this i^ the first 10 all Wales ; another is Saint 

trydydd yw Llandegemman; pedwerydd yw Llanussylld ; Ismael ; the third is Llandegemman ; the fourth is Llanussylld ; 

pymmed Llandeilaw ; ehweehed Llandyflydog ; saithfed yw the fifth Llandeilaw ; the sixth Llandeflydog ; and the seventh, 

Llangenau. Llangenau a Llanussylld rhydd ynt o ebediweu, Llangenau. Llangenau ami Llanussylld are exempt from 

eanys nid oes tyr eglwys uldynt. mortuaries, as they have no church lands belonging to them. 

"Llandegemman is the name of a farm in Saint .Michael Cwmdu, in tin- hundred of Crickhowell, 
formerly Ystradyw ; and though there is now no appearance of a religious house or monastery there, 
this may be easily accounted for. when we hear that the revenues attached to it were so small as 
not to be sufficient for its repairs. Llangenau now spell Llangeney, is a parish in the same hundred, 
near the eastern boundary of this county, and adjoining to .Monmouthshire; no other place called 
Llandegemman is known in South Wales, and it is certain that there is no other parish called Llan- 
genau. either in Demetia or Siluria. Add to this, that the dialect of Breconshire and Carmarthenshire 
is nearly similar, while that of Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire is very different from that of the 
two first counties. 

" From the quotation just made by Hywel Dda, as well as from his conduct towards Morgan hen, 
or the old. who was king or prince of Glamorgan at the same time that Hywel governed Dyfed as 
well as Gwynedd, it seems clear that the latter potentate considered Ystradyw as part of his 
dominions: and he and his successors always possessed it, until it was taken from them by the 
Norman invaders on the conquest of Brecon, and though his evidence cannot be said to be perfectly 
disinterested, he must be allowed to have had more and better information upon the subject than 
we can now possess. We find him publicly asserting his right in his book of laws, compiled by the 
wisest men of his day, anion;/ whom mix the archdeacon of Llandaff, and we know he enjoyed the 
whole of Breconshire as part of Dyfed, without interruption, utiles;, the entry in the Liber Landavensis 
is entitled to implicit credit ; but before that is admitted, it must be examined and considered, and 
we shall then perhaps discover that it is impossible it can be correct. Cradoc of Llancarvan. though a 
Glamorganshire man and a monk, certainly paid no attention to it, although he, as well as his 
translator Powel, must have seen it : the public, however, shall hear the story, and those who feel 
themselves interested in the question, may decide upon it. 


" 2 Be it known to all the people of Britain, that there are seven cantreds (or hundreds) in the 
lordship and bishopric of Morganwg ; the first is Cantreff Bychan ; the second, Gower and C'ydweli ; 
the third, Gorwenit ; the fourth, Cantreff Penuchen ; the filth, Gwentlhvg and Edeligion ; the sixth, 
Gwent is coed; and the seventh, Gwent uch coed. Ystradyw and Ewyas arc called the two sleeves ot 
Gwent uwch coed. When Edgar was king in England, and Hywel Dda, the son of Cadell, was prince 
of South Wales, which was one of the three kingdoms into which that country was divideu. Morgan 
hen reigned in peace over all Morganwg, until Hywel Dda endeavoured to deprive him cf Ystradyw 
and Ewyas. 

"When Edgar heard this, he sent to Hywel Dda and Morgan lien, and Owen his son, and 
desired them to come to his court at London, and he heard the story, and the dispute which was 
between them; whereupon >t was determined by the lawful judgment of his court, that Hywel Dda 
had wrongfully dispossessed Morgan hen and Owen his son. and therefore it was adjudged that Hywel 
Dda should give up Ystradyw ami Ewyas for ever. Afterwards king Edgar granted and, gavi to Owen 
the son of Morgan hen. Ystradyw and Ewyas, within the bishopric of Llandaff; and confirmed them 
to him and his heirs by instruments in writing, attested by all the archbishops, bishops, carls and 
barons of England and Wales; a curse was denounced upon any one who should attempt to deprive 

1 Lib. 2. cap. 0. published bv Wooton, London, 1730. - Myfyrian Archaeology, vol. 2. p. 612. London, 1801. 


the parish of Teilaw of these lands, and a blessing invoked on all those who should thereafter con- 
tribute to preserve them to the lawful owner. Thus did Edgar, and the record of the proceedings is 
kept in the chapter house of Llandaff. 1 

" Not a tittle do we hear of this now famous award, made in the presence of all the archbishops, 
bishops, earls and barons of England and Wales, in the English, any more than in the Welsh histories, 
and unluckily for the credit of the Cwtta Cyfarwydd, there is a small anachronism, which will perhaps 
consign it to ' the family vault of all the Capulets.' Hywel Dda died A.D. 958, and Edgar did not 
begin his reign until 959, so that the truth probably was, that an old dispute between the bishops of 
Llandaff and Saint David's was revived some time in the tenth century, and the monk who related it, 
not satisfied with asserting the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the see of Llandaff over Ystradyw and 
Ewyas, called in the help of Edgar, and proceeded to maintain the temporal power of his prince, in 
order to secure more effectually his support when it should be wanted. 

' ' We will only add a few words more and then proceed to take a hasty tour round the county of 
Brecon, and mark its boundary, as it is now known. A Latin MS. in the Oottonian library, (Domitian 
A, i. Fo. 13. 157.) is styled Cognacio Brychan unde Brechenawc dicta est, Pars Demelice. This writing, 
which appears from the spelling, as well as some other circumstances, to be as old as the reign of 
Hywel Dda, if not older, is an additional proof that we have been wrongfully classed among the 
Silures, and that anciently we were considered to be in the same province with Pembrokeshire, 
Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire ; and to which, with Baxter, we think Radnorshire, or at least the 
greatest part of it, ought to be added." 


Brecknock is bounded on the East by Monmouth and Hereford ; on the North-East and North 
by Radnor ; on the North- West by Cardigan ; on the West by Carmarthen : on the south by Glamorgan 
and Monmouth. Since the beginning of the 19th century an ever-improving series of Ordnance maps 
have been published, on which are carefully laid down the boundaries of counties. It is therefore 
scarcely necessary now to follow Theophilus Jones in his beautiful walk over mountains and by rivers to 
trace the present boundaries of the county. Yet it should be noted that certain alterations have 
taken place. At the date of his writing, the hamlet of Glasbury, south of Wye, was in the county 
of Radnor; it has since been placed in Brecknockshire, and was in 1884 by an Order in Council 
amalgamated with Tregoyd and Velindre. Therefore the centre of the Wye is now the north-east 
boundary of Brecknock from Hay to its junction with the river Elan. Note also in passing that the 
Parish of Llandefalle reaches Wye at Tre-ricket between Llyswen and Crickadarn : it is omitted from 
the list by Jones. The Elan, from the point where it joins the Wye to that where the Clairwen 
joins, afterwards the Clairwen, until its junction with the Brwyno, "the rushy brook," and from that 
spot the Brwyno form the northern boundary of Brecknock. On these brooks there have been con- 
structed lakes to supply Birmingham with fresh water ; the boundary therefore will be in future years 
an imaginary line, drawn across the sea of waters, representing the original course of the boundary 
brooks. On the southern boundary, while the geographical and Parliamentary county is still as 
described by Jones, an administrative county has been formed of slightly differing area. After the 
passing of the Public Health Act of 1874, the southern portions of the parishes of Llangynidr and 
Llangattock were constituted part of the Local Board Districts of Rhymney, Tredegar, and Ebbw 
Vale. By the Local Government Act of 1888, the whole of an Urban District is placed within that 
county where the majority of its inhabitants reside ; these portions of the two parishes, therefore, 
passed into the administrative county of Monmouth, the boundary being marked with stones across the 
mountain. Similarly a small portion of the parish of Aberystruth, formerly in the county of Mon- 
mouth, was placed in the Urban District of Brynmawr ; it passed into the administrative county of 
Brecknock under the Act of 1888. These places have since, under the subsequent legislation of 1894, 
been elevated into separate parishes under the names of Llechrhyd, Dukes Town, and Rassa, formerly 
in the parish of Llangynidr, and Beaufort, formerly in the parish of Llangattock, all of which now 
form part of Urban Districts within the administrative county of Monmouth, and Aberystruth, Bryn- 
mawr-Urban, formerly in the county of Monmouth but now included within the administrative county 
of Brecknock. 

1 This is a translation of a ropy of the Liber Landavensis ; Ystradvw is now supposed to comprise the hundred of Crick- 

Thia document is called Cwtta Cyfarwydd Forganwg, a brief state- howelConly : but the word imports the vale of Usk, or the vale 

nii'iit of the rights <it Morganwg. Edgar gave the lands in dispute of water. "This squabble may therefore have related only to the 

to the biehoprick of Llandafl ; the word in the British, is the lands about Abergavenny, where the reguli of Breconshire having 

parish of Llandaff. In the early ages of Christianity, what we unjustifiably pushed their boundaries too far Eastward, pre- 

now call tlie cathedral, was the only church in the diocese. vented the communication of the Gwentians with Ewyas and 

Kcnnet's case o/ impropriations. After all it is extremely un- Erging, in Herefordshire, 
certain how far this claim of the princes of Gwent extended. 



And now let us give the ancient Boundaries as described by Theophilus Jones. He says : — 
" Breconshire is bounded on the East by Monmouthshire and Herefordshire ; on the North, by 
Radnorshire ; on the North West, by Cardiganshire, on the West by Carmarthenshire and on the South 
by Glamorganshire and part of Monmouthshire. To describe its boundary, I begin Eastward, where a 
small brook called Baiden falls into the Usk on the South side of the river; follow the same down- 
wards in the middle of the river, until the conflux of another brook on the North, called Gwenffrwd : 
up this rivulet, proceeding North or North East, having Llanwenarth in .Monmouthshire on the right, 
and Llangenny in Breconshire on the left. Cross the turnpike road from Abergavenny to Brecon, 
where there is a shire stone placed between Sunny Bank and a farm house, called from its situation, 
Cydiad y ddwy shire, or the boundary of the two counties, up to the source of the Gwenffrwd, on 
the North side of the Sugar Loaf hill. From thence, crossing the mountain in a direction rather more 
to the East, but leaving the high summit to the right, we come to a brook called Cwmbwch or Nant 
y ffin ; pursue the course of this brook downwards to its fall into the Grwyne fawr ; up the middle of 
that river, Llanbedr in Breconshire, on the left, and Llanwenarth and afterwards Llandilo-Pertholeu, in 
Monmouthshire, on the right, until we come to a bridge leading from Llanvihangel Cilcornel to Crick- 
howell, called the Coal-pit road : proceeding still Northward up along Grwyne fawr ; Partrishaw, 
Breconshire, on the left, Llandilo-Pertholeu, Monmouthshire, on the right, we come to a small brook, 
called Nantddu, which falls on the Monmouthshire side into the Grwyne, near a blacksmith's shop, 
where the insulated hamlet of Ffwddog, in Cwmyoy, 1 Herefordshire, is on the right. Here recross the 
Grwyne to half the river; proceed upwards in the same direction Northwards to a bridge, called 
Pont-yscub, (correctly Pont-Escob), or the bishop's bridge, upon the road leading from Patrishaw to 
Cwmyoy : Patrishaw, on the left, Cwmyoy, Herefordshire, on the right. Still along the Grwyne upwards 
when a brook called Nant y ffin falls in on the West, which brook divides Patrishaw from the hamlet 
of Grwyne fawr in Talgarth, and the hundred of Crickhowell from the hundred of Talgarth in Brecon- 
shire. After which, Sychnant, Brwvnant, Cwmddoinant, and Cwmnant y bedd brooks fall in upon the 
Western or Breconshire side : cross Grwyne fawr where Cwmnant Trethin falls in on the East ; proceed 
up this brook in a direction Eastward, having Talgarth, Breconshire. on the North, and Cwmyoy, 
Monmouthshire, on the South : pass over a hill called the Van, turning towards the North to a river 
called Honddu, where we have Cwmyoy, Monmouthshire, again on the right : along the Honddu to 
Cappel y ffin, from thence to a cottage near the confluence of two brooks ; one rising on the Western 
or Breconshire. side, and the other on the Eastern : follow the latter up to the Hatterell hills, to a 
spot where a third prill rises, which falls into the Olchon, in the parish of Clodoek, until the source 
of this third prill, where, however, there is no boundary, mere stone, or mark ; Cwmyoy in Monmouth- 
shire, afterwards Clodoek, Herefordshire, on the right, and Llanigon, Breconshire, on the left : proceed 
from this spot Northward, along the brow or summit of the hill on the Herefordshire side, to a place 
called Rhyw'r Daran, where there is a mere stone called Carreg Lwyd, being the boundary between 
Llanigon and Hay, Breconshire, on the right, the latter of which parishes continues along the 
boundary on that side, 'till the Dulas empties itself into the Wye ; excepting only a mill, and two 
meadows, insulated within the Hay parish, called Llangwaithan mill and meadows, but which are 
part of Llanigon. 

*' From Carreg Lwyd we proceed down the hill in a North Easterly direction to a cottage, called 
Syke's cottage, where another prill rises and divides Clodoek and Cusop parishes in Herefordshire ; 
the latter of which follows the boundary on the Herefordshire side to the Wye. Along the prill above 
mentioned, called Creigieu brook, we come to its fall into the Dulas ; the boundary to its conflux into 
the Wye, near Hay : here turn, and proceed Westward up the middle of the latter river, which is tin- 
boundary between Radnorshire on the North and Breconshire on the South, for three or four miles : 
Clyrow and Llowes parishes on the right, upon the left Hay : about a feu hundred 3'ards above or 
South Westward of Llowes church, Radnorshire, cross the Wye and the turnpike road leading from 
Brecon to Hay, between two farms, called Fford fawr and Llwyne bach, but nearer to the latter : 
from thence we proceed about half a mile from the river Wye, in a Southerly directio7i : then turn, 
and proceed for the like distance from East to West ; turn almost angularly from South to North, 
proceed in that direction by Glazbury churchyard, leaving this church a few yards, and that part of 
the parish which is in Radnorshire all the way to the left. Recross the turnpike road to Brecon, and 
through the great meadows, called the Stonces, into the middle of the river Wye, which now becomes 
the boundary between Breconshire and Radnorshire, until the conflux or fall of the Elan, about two 
miles below Rhayader. 

! All the maps of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, hitherto published, have erroneously placed the Ffwddog. as surrounded 

by Breconshire, instead of Monmouthshire. 


' ' From the place where the boundary line returns to the Wye, near Glazbury, we have the hamlet 
of Pipton, then the parishes of Llyswen, Crickadarn, Gwenddwr (on the Western boundary or confines 
of which last parish, we quit the hundred of Talgarth, and enter the hundred of Builth), Alltmawr, 
Llandewi'r cwm, Llanfair in Builth, Llanfihangel-bryn-pabuan, Llysdinam, and Llanwrthwl, in Brecon- 
shire, on the left or South, and on the other, or Northern side, Glazbury, Boughrwd, Llandilo-graban, 
Aberedw, Llanfareth, Llanelwedd, Disserth, Llanyre, and Llanfihangel-helygen, in Radnorshire. 

' ' From the fall of the Elan into the Wye, we quit the latter river and proceed up the middle 
of the former, in a direction nearly from East to West, 'till it receives the Claerwen : up this river 
turning a little towards the South, 'till the Brwyno falls in, running nearly from North to South. 
Follow this river to its source, near which it receives a supply from the lake of Llyngynnon, in 
Cardiganshire : Llanddewi brevi, in that county, all this %vhile on the right, and Llandewi abergwessin, 
in Breconshire, on the left. From the source of the Brwyno, proceed from North West to South East, 
for about three miles along a wet bog (where the boundary line is not precisely ascertained) to the 
Tawe, not far from its source, follow this river down 'till it runs opposite to and near Ystrad y ffin. 
From the Tawe, near Ystrad y ffin, we come to the top of Hirgwm ; here he have Llanfair ar y brin, 
Caermarthenshire, on the right, and Llanwrtyd, Breconshire, on the left. Down Hirgwm proceeding 
South East, to a common called Llwydlo faeh, in the same direction to Owmcrychan : thence to the 
source of the river Gwenol, which follow to its fall into the Gwydderig. Up this river, turning from 
West to South East, until we come opposite to a brook running into it, on the Southern side, about 
four miles and a half from Trecastle, in Breconshire, called Nant y meirch ; which trace upward from 
North to South West. Turn near a white stone to the Westward, leaving this stone in Caermarthen- 
shire ; cross the old turnpike road over Trecastle mountain to Llandovery, to Cors Pendaulwyn ; then 
to a brook, called Hen wen ; down the same in a course nearly from West to East, 'till it falls into 
the Usk. Up the Usk turning from North to South East, to its source between the two Vans or 
Bannau ; thence South South East to the river Twreh, which follow in nearly the same direction 'till 
it empties itself into the Tawe. 

"From Llwydlo faeh to Gwydderrig, we have Tyr yr abad, or Llandulas, in the hundred of 
Builth, and afterwards Llandilo'r fan, in the hundred of Merthyr in Breconshire, on the left, and 
Llanfair ar y bryn, Caermarthenshire, on the right. From the fall of Nant y meirch into the Gwyd- 
derig, we have the parish of Llywel in the hundred of Devynnock, in Breconshire, on the left, and 
Myddfe and Llanddoisant parishes, in Caermarthenshire, on the right, and from the spot where we 
reach the Tawe downwards to its fall, the parish of Llanguke or Llanguik, Glamorganshire, adjoins on 
the right, and Ystradgynlais, Breconshire, on the left. Upon coming to the Tawe, we proceed 
upward along the middle of the river from West to East, to Abercynlais : then cross a common called 
Cefn y bryn. Southwards to Nant y quarrel; then to Bryn y rhedin, near Goitre Genfford y Drain, 
and so to a brook called Nant y Pebyll Bedw : thence to the river Dulas, along which to Corslwyn 
du ; from thence to the river Pyrddin, which follow in a direction from West to East to its fall into 
the Neath, which unites itself with the Mellte at Pont neat hfechan. From the fall of the Twrch into 
the Tawe, to the meeting of the streams of the Neath, and the Mellte, we have Llanguke and Cadox- 
tone parishes, Glamorganshire, on the right, and Ystradvellte, Breconshire, on the left. From Pont- 
neathvechan a few yards below the bridge, we proceed up the Mellte, having the hamlet of Rhygocs, 
in the parish of Ystradyvodog, Glamorganshire, on the right, and Ystradvellte, on the left, until we 
come to Dinas rock, in Penderin, in Breconshire ; here we cross the Mellte, and proceed from North 
to South up a brook, called Sychryd : then cross the Cynon river, a little above Hirwam furnace ; 
Penderin, on the left, and Aberdare parish, in Glamorganshire, on the right ; down the Cynog, 'till a 
brook called Nant hir falls into it on the North or North Eastern side ; which trace upwards, pro- 
ceeding from South West to North East, 'till we come to another brook, called Pistill Nant y derin : 
then to a brook, called Nant y ffrwd, which follow to its fall in the Taaf fawr, a little above Coed 
y cymer. Follow the Taaf downwards, 'till it receives Taaf fechan on the North: here cross the former 
river where we have Vainor, in the hundred of Penkelley, in Breconshire, on the left, and on the 
right, Merthyr Tidvil, Glamorganshire. At the fall of the Taaf fechan, or lesser Taaf, turn from 
South to North, and proceed up this river to three stones in the river, called Yr hen steppau, about 
300 yards below Pontstieill : here cross the river, and from thence we come in a direction from East 
to West to Bwlch issa, then to Castell y nos, then to Pwll morlais, thence to Pwll lhvch mere, thence 
to Cam y clyn dwr, thence to Cam helig, and from thence to Rhyd y milwyr. From Taaf fechan, 
we have Llanddetty, Breconshire, on the left and Merthyr Tidvil, and Gellygare, Glamorganshire, on 
the right. 

" At Rhyd y Milwyr, or the soldiers' ford, upon the brook called Nant y milwyr, the lordship 
and hundred of Penkefly, and of Tretower, in the hundred of Crickhowel, in Breconshire, and the 


lordship of Sanghenydd, in Clamorganshire meet near the source of the Romney or Rhymny ; which 
river follow downwards nearly from West to East, for 568 perches, where the counties of Brecon and 
Monmouth unite, at the fall of a brook called Nantmelin into the Rhymny ; near this spot (in Brecon- 
shire) iron works have been lately erected : Nantmelin divides Llangynider, in Breconshire, from 
Beciwellte, in Monmouthshire: proceeding up this brook North East for 144 perches, we cross over it, 
and continue our course North Eastward for two hundred perches more ; having the lordship of Coed 
meredith, on the right hand, until we come to the source of a brook, called Nant y bwch ; down this 
brook, 'till it falls into the Sorwy or Sirhowy, where we have Llangunider, in Breconshire, on the 
left, and Bedwellte still on the right. Prom Sirhowy, proceed Eastward to the river Ebwy fawr, 
which cross by a cottage called John Goodluck's : here we have a very small spot of ground on the 
South or South Eastern side, in Breconshire. Then down the middle of the river Ebwy fawr to Blan 
Ebwy, where we have Beaufort iron works close upon the boundary line, on the left in Breconshire : 
from thence, follow the stream quite round the works ; then proceed to Gwar y Cae coal works ; then 
to the outside of Wain dew, where we have Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, on the right ; and Llan- 
gattock, on the left : from thence to Carreg y ffin, to Carreg Wain y Bwlch, to Carreg croes blan y 
Llammarch, to Pound y Wain wen, to Carreg cefn earn yr erw, to Blan Dar fawr, to Carreg Maen y 
Tarw, to Carreg clawdd y mwyn, to Carreg Pen Garn lwyd, to Carreg Pen rchyw winau, to a mountain 
ash, to Bedd y gwr hir, to Pwll Carreg and from thence down the brook Baiden to its fall into the 
Usk, where this tour commenced ; haying Llanelly, Breconshire, on the left, and Llanwenarth, Mon- 
mouthshire, on the right. 1 

" Within this circle, (for such it nearly is, except on the north Eastern and South Western 
boundary, which is elongated and protrudes about four or five miles at each point) are contained 800 
square miles, or 512,000 acres of land ; and 300 acres of water, besides the space occupied by rivers 
and brooks- This county is a radius of thirty miles; in the center of which, as nearly as art or 
design could place it (though it may be doubted whether it is to be attributed to either), is situated the 
town of Brecknock ; from whence the traveller, proceeding along either of the four main roads, inter- 
secting the county, and leading to Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire, Radnorshire or Herefordshire, finds 
himself on the confines of the county of Brecon at the end of fifteen miles, and the same thing may 
be said, as to the distance from Brecon towards Merthyr Tidvil, in Glamorganshire, on the South, 
although the present road has rather increased it, by taking a circuitous sweep to avoid the inequalities 
and other natural difficulties of the old one." 


The area of the ancient county of Brecknock was 475,224 acres, that of the newly formed adminis- 
trative county (certain Urban districts having under recent legislation passed into Monmouth) is 469,894 
acres. The uninclosed land in the county is 115,106 acres, or nearly a quarter of the whole. 

A return of the population of the county of Brecknock in 1673, "as appears from a return made 
by the Churchwardens to the Archbishop of Canterbury," gives the total at 13,311, of which Papists 
156 and Dissenters 682. Several parishes were entirely omitted : these having been added give a total 
of 13,496. This return must, however, be discarded as absolutely incorrect. The religious statistics, if 
true, would be a curious contribution to Church history, for " Papists and Dissenters " would perhaps 
not have selected Churchwardens to give a favourable estimate of their numbers. From 1792 to 1801 
the baptisms were transcribed by Theophilus Jones from the registers: in 1792 the number of persons 
born was 771 ; in 1801 it had sunk to 643. Assuming the number of births to be the same per thou- 
sand, as later experience has shown, this gives a population approaching 28.000 — such an increase, from 
13,311 in 28 years, is quite impossible. Amongst the country people an idea holds that the population 
in ancient days was larger than at the present time ; there does not appear the slightest reason for 
such a supposition. The few ruins of cottages in agricultural parishes, which may have given rise to 
the idea, being easily accounted for by the desertion of old houses as new and better ones were built : 
in any case they are not sufficient to affect materially the general result. 

1 These are the boundaries of the county of Brecon in 1800 ; fawr, from whence the boundary line crossed Southward to 

but there are strong reasons for supposing that in very early ages, Llandebie, and followed the Loughor to its fall into the sea. 

and particularly in the time of Brychan Brycheiniog (who will This will account for the claim and possession of Gower, by the 

soon be introduced to the reader), Garthmadrvn, or the posses- descendants of Bernard Newmarch, who supposed they had 

sions over which this prince ruled, were of considerably greater a right to all the lands of which they had robbed Bleddin ap 

extent to the Westward. At Duffryn Cydrych, in the parish of Maenarch. 

Llanddoisant. in Carmarthenshire, were formerly considerable - Clarke's General View of the Agriculture of the county of 

ruins and excavations, called Llys Brychan. or the court of Brecon ; published by the Board of Agriculture in 1794. 831 

Brychan, where this regulus probably resided occasionally: square miles, or 467 according to Smith's maps. See Gent, 

and if so, we conceive his territory comprehended the whole of the Mag. for July, 1S04. 
country on the East side of the Towy, as far down as Llandilo 


In country parishes, purely agricultural, the accurate deconnial census from 1801 to 1891 show that 
the population has decreased, or at best remained stationary. The people have shared the tendency 
observed throughout England and Wales to leave the country and flock into the towns. The corollary 
of this proposition is that towns have steadily increased their number. Brecon, with a population in 
1801 of 2,700, has in 1891 over 6,000 inhabitants. Builth from 347 has increased to 1,114, to which 
must be added nearly 200 due to the building of Oaklands, a small suburb in the parish of Llan- 
dewi cwm. Hay has grown from a population of 1,170 to 2,154. Talgarth and Devynock have increased, 
though to lesser amount; Llanwrtyd has felt the value of a railway, and has sprung from 457 to 847. 
Crickhowell, the only town still without railway communication, but within the influence of the iron 
district, increased from 566 in the year 1801 to 1,561 in 1861, receding since that to 1.246 in 1891 in 
sympathy with depression in the neighbouring mineral industry. Lastly Brynmawr, now the most 
populous town in the county, came into existence in answer to the demand for labour at the works at 
Nantyglo. Since the cessation of manufacture at Nantyglo, Brynmawr has been saved from extinction 
by the railways, which enable the inhabitants to seek their living at Ebbw Vale and other centres of 
industry. This town is still an increasing place. 

The most remarkable increase has been in parishes formerly agricultural, since worked for 
coal or iron. Llanelly in 1673 is credited with 86 persons ; in 1800 it had increased to 937 ; in 1861 
to 9,600 ; and even now, after the failure of the Clydach works, there is still a population of nearly 
7,060 persons. Llangattock increased from 1,000 in the year 1801 to over 5,700 in 1861, since which 
time it has somewhat fallen back. Llangynidr has had a continuous increase from 775 in 1801 to 
3,625 in 188] ; Penderyn has grown from 1,000 to 2,800 ; and the lower part of Ystradgunlais from 
709 to 3,600. The general effect on the county has been as follows: In 1801 the population was 
32,325. The making of the railways of England between 1840 and 1860 made also the fortune of 
Brecknock. The population nearly doubled in 50 years, the culminating point being reached in 1861 
when Brecknock showed a population of 61,627 ; since that time it has again dropped to 57,031. 

The whole of the above remarks apply to the ancient, geographical, and parliamentary county. 
When in 1888 the Local C4overnment Act formed "administrative counties," an urban district partly 
in one county and partly in another was placed in the county where a majority of its population 
resided. The Urban Districts of Brynmawr with part of Aberystruth ; of Beaufort, Rassa, and Llech- 
ryd, had become portions of Urban Districts : Brynmawr being within the county of Brecon for 
Parliamentary and administrative purposes ; and Aberystruth in Brecon for administrative and Mon- 
mouth for Parliamentary purposes. While the other places- mentioned, Beaufort, Rassa, Dukestown, 
and Llecbryd are in Monmouth for administration ; in Brecknock for Parliamentary representation ; in 
Monmouth for sanitation ; in Brecknock for Pour Law ; in Brecknock for Elementary and in Monmouth 
for Secondary Education — a complicated arrangement which can scarcely continue. Out of modern 
legislation has thus come the Administrative County of Brecknockshire, with a population in 1891 of 
51,393, which will probably be the initial figure with which future calculations will be compared. 


And here let us add Theophilus Jones' remarks on this subject. He says: — "The population of 
this county, from the returns made to Parliament in 1802, may be estimated at 32,300. From these 
documents, it appears that the inhabitants then consisted of 31,633; but the regular and supple- 
mentary militia, amounting to 500 men, being then out of the county, and those in the army and 
navy not being included, they may be fairly said to exceed 32,000. This population has varied of 
course here, as it has in all other counties, at different periods. At the beginning of the 17th century, 
when there was a considerable manufacture in woollen cloths in Brecon, and the neighbourhood, there 
are reasons to believe, that the inhabitants were much more numerous than after the restoration. In 
1673, returns were made, in obedience to a commission from the Archbishop of Canterbury, by which 
we find that the population of Breeonshire then amounted to about 14,000. Since that time, we see 
they have increased to more than double the number. Both the tables (that formed from the returns 
in 1(17.'!. and that from those of 1802), may be confided in and are as nearly correct as the course of 
human affairs will permit : for it is impossible to be precisely accurate on this subject. But the 
calculations from the parish registers, which was the mode resorted to, prior to the passing of the 
act of t] George 3d, directing those returns to be made, were extremely fallacious. I have taken the 
trouble of minuting down the aggregate number of births and burials, from the transcripts of the 
registers of this county returned into my office for the last 100 years ; little information is to be 
derived from them in this respect. It should seem that the population in this county was decreasing 
in the years 1800 and 1801. Those years were certainly sickly, the seasons unhealthy, and the bread 
then eaten extremely bad, which, of course, occasioned disorders, and an extraordinary mortality : 
but 1 doubt very much whether it can be safely inferred from thence, that the number of births 


during those periods was not equal to many of the preceding years. The increase in the sect of 

anabaptists accounts in some measure for the deficiency apparent in the registers, and there are 

many other causes to which it may lie attributed too tedious to be here discussed, though they 
may form a subject of inquiry hereafter." 


The principal rivers of Brecknock are the Usk and the Wye. These alone will be described in 

this chapter, leaving their tributaries and the smaller streams. Town, Hepste, Mellte, Talf. and others 
until their several localities are reached. The Usk rises among the mountains on the Western border 
of the countv. and. after flowing northwards for three miles, bends sharply to the East past Brecon 
and Crickhowell, a course of 34 miles through the centre of the county, and so on through the county 
of Monmouth until it reaches the Severn Estuary at Newport. Immediately above Brecon, it feeds 
the Brecon and Newport Canal. The Usk is justly celebrated for its fishing, both of trout and salmon. 
Eels, too, give excellent sport to the rising generation; who pursue them diligently with a steel fork 
as spear in low water, and in Hood time in summer with a clot of worms. By this latter method a 
hundred or more may be caught in an afternoon. These generally run small, eight or ten to the 
pound, though a monster of a pound and a half in weight has been occasionally jerked to grass. By 
more ambitious methods eels of three and four pounds" weight have been captured. The small river 
lamperns and the larger lamprey are sometimes taken. Sewin are not often found. The trout of the 
1'sk are numerous and when in prime condition most excellent eating ; they are smaller than in some 
English rivers. A basket when' the fish are like brothers, each of the family weighing half a pound, 
forty in number, weighng in all twenty pounds, will send the angler home tired but happy. The 
largest trout taken in Glanusk waters 'weighed 31b. 12oz. The season commences on February 15th 
and ends October 2nd. The best months are March and April. 


As a salmon river, owing to its short length, the small number of nets at its mouth, the entire 
absence of inland nets, the removal of every obstruction, and an excellent system of preservation, the 
Usk has been greatly improved. A weir at Trostre at one time prevented the fish ascending; it was 
first taken by some patriotic gentleman, and finally bought by public subscription and destroyed. The 
Usk is largely dependent upon floods : a wet year' will be a good fishing season, a dry year a bad one. 
Thus in 1891 the rods captured 4,(131 salmon weighing an average of about lOlbs. each fish; in 
1808 only 518 were taken, their average weight 121bs. Over series of years the average weight is 
lOlbs. Mr Robert Crawshay, some years back, landed one of 44lbs. weight, and fish of 20lbs. to 301bs. 
are not very uncommon, 'in 1891, the take of salmon by rods in Buckland water was 650 fish, Mr 
Alfred Craw'shay taking with his one rod three hundred and twenty-four fish, weighing 3.513lbs. ; in 
spite of a month's absence in Scotland from September 25th till October 26th. This is perhaps as 
good sport as has been recorded in the waters of Britain. 

The Wye rises in Plinlhnmon and flowing past Rhayader, becomes, after its junction with the 
Elan, the north east boundary of the county, dividing Brecknock from Radnor. As it flows by 
Brecknock its waters are augmented from tlie north by the Ithon, the Eddw, and other smaller 
streams. On the Brecknock side it receives, a mile and a half below Rhayader, the Elan ; which 
with its tributary, the Clairwen, have been formed into great lakes to supply Birmingham with water. 
The next important tributary, the Yrvon, enters Wye half a mile or so above Builth. The Yrvon 
itself receives from the north' several not inconsiderable brooks, the (iwessin, the < Vrdin, the Camddwr, 
the Cammards, the Dulas, and the Chwefru, while from the south shorter streams reach it from the 
almost precipitous slopes of the Eppynt hills. 

It was in contemplation in 1898 to form in the vale of Yrvon a lake 9 miles in length to supply 
the metropolis with water. After its reception of the Yrvon, the Wye flows past the town of Builth, 
a mile eastward of which it is joined by the Dihonow, whose head waters furnish by gravitation the 
water supply of Builth. Several smaller streams are passed before we arrive at the Llynfi, a stream 
flowing through Llangorse Lake, by means of which hi* the future the waters of the Usk may also find 
their way to London. At Hay a brook named Dulas enters Wye. which from that point leaves our 
county, 'flowing through the counties of Hereford and Monmouth till it reaches the Severn Estuary at 
Chepstow. The countv of Brecknock is thus the most important water collecting area in Britain, 
supplying not only local requirements, but the vast city of Birmingham, and probably in the future 
the still vaster and ever increasing population of London, 


In the Wye are found salmon, trout, pike, and other fish. For the pleasure of salmon fishing, 
sportsmen from a distance fill the hotels and rents the houses near the river, for their own enjoyment 


and to the benefit of local trade. Since 1861 the Legislature has passed several enactments for the 
improvement of the Salmon Fisheries. A Board of Conservators has been formed, to whose care the 
interests of the river as a whole have been confided. Water bailiffs patrol the banks to protect the 
spent fish returning to the sea; the capture of many young salmon, known as "pink," and by other 
names, has been forbidden. Certain modes of fishing, the spear, the gaff, and still more fatal lime, 
have been made illegal ; the minimum mesh of nets has been fixed by law, and on annual close time 
established to ensure peace for the breeding fish ; while a weekly close time, during which the nets 
may not fish, gives a chance for a certain amount of salmon to attain in safely the upper reaches of 
the river. 

The life history of a Wye salmon may be thus described. In the autumn the salmon travel up 
the Wye and Usk for breeding purposes. Net fishery closes with the end of August ; after which, even 
if the law permitted, few salmon are in condition fit for sale. The hen fish grows dark in colour, 
and it is full of spawn ; the cock fish gradually becomes as hideous as can well be imagined — his 
colour a dirty red, blotched with orange and purple spots, and his head being large and body thin. 
The bulk of the fish deposit their spawn about Christmas, after which they return, as best they can, 
to the sea. In a very exhausted state they may be seen under bush or other sheltered place, while 
many die of disease or combat; at this time, if unprotected by law, the "spent" fish would fall an 
easy prey to spear or gaff. They gradually reach their great sanatorium the sea, hanging about the 
lower reaches of the rivers till the late spring. The eggs remain hidden in the gravel bed of the river 
for about 140 days; those that escape the ravages of water insects hatch out in May. On hatching 
they resemble tadpoles with a bag of nutriment attached, on which they subsist for two or three 
weeks, when they assume the form of fishes, and are known as "fry," or "salmon pink." The 
received opinion is that the salmon remains a full year in this stage, wearing a coat with finger 
marks on it, whence some have called him a " fingerling." He now, in the second April, assumes 
the silvery scales of the adult fish, wearing his new apparel over his old jacket ; he is now called a 
" smolt," and with the first flood starts on his journey to the sea. In the salt water it is believed 
that the smolt grows very rapidly, entering the sea with a weight of five or six ounces and returning 
to his native river, in three months time, a "grilse," locally called a "botcher," of from 41bs. to 
71bs. in weight. What natural instinct it is which induces the salmon to run up the rivers in spring 
and summer is unknown ; some think they are prompted by desire to escape from marine enemies or 
parasitic insects. 

Some few salmon run up the Wye in February, and in March there enter the river those which 
are locally known as "March gillins," a nice looking plump fish of from 81bs. to 121bs. in weight, 
but these are not in any quantities. In the Wye Estuary the salmon do not start to run in any 
numbers until the end of April ; when fresh from the sea these are bright looking fish with a fair 
amount of large ones amongst them. If the river is in fair condition all these fish are constantly on 
the move towards the Upper Wye and its tributaries ; if the water is unsuitable, they may be seen 
lying, moping about the pools in the middle parts of the river, quickly becoming discoloured and 
slimy. The grilse run in June ; they are lively fish, and being smaller than the full grown salmon can 
ascend into the smaller streams where there would be no shelter for the larger fish. The largest fish 
recorded as taken in the Wye was captured by Messrs Miller in June, 1895, a male in prime condition, 
measuring 55 inches in length, with a girth of 28 inches; it weighed 631bs. In 1898, the largest 
turned the scale at 511bs. 


On the subject of the rivers and their fish, Theophilus Jones says: — "The principal rivers in this 
county are the Wye, the Usk, the Irvon and the Tawe. The Taaf also rises in this county, but it 
does not become considerable 'till it receives the lesser Taaf, and enters Glamorganshire. The Wye, 
with a trifling exception at Glazbury (as has been seen), washes the Northern boundary of this county, 
and divides it from Radnorshire for thirty-three or thirty-four miles in length, when it enters Hereford- 
shire, near Hay, and afterwards falls into the. Severn below Chepstow. In this river are found salmon, 
trout, graylings, pike, perch, last-springs samlet, or salmon pink, chub, dace, loach, gudgeons, eels, 
lampreys, roaches, bullheads, minnows, shad cray fish, and muscles. The salmon and the pike of this 
river are remarkably good. The trout are not in equal estimation amongst epicures : the flesh is 
white, and they have neither the firmness, colour, or flavour of those of the Usk. It is remarkable 
that the cray fish or fresh water lobster is found in many brooks running into the Wye ; but seldom, 
if ever, in those which fall into the Usk or Irvon. Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to 
remove them into the rivers of Caermarthenshire and Glamorganshire and even into some brooks 
communicating with the Irvon. which empties itself into the Wye ; but when thus conveyed, they soon 
disappear. They are not found dead, nor is the shell ever seen ; they, consequently, either emigrate, 
or are destroyed and totally devoured by the indigenous inhabitants of the stream, to which they are 


thus unnaturally introduced and who perhaps dislike the company of these intruders. The sewin, (a 
fish in high estimation in part of South Wales) is not found in any of the rivers of Breconshire, 
except the Tawe. And here another observation occurs, though perhaps it has seldom if ever hern 
attended to. The sewin is not seen in any river running in tins county from Fast to West, but in 
all those flowing in a contrary direction, as the Teivi, the Towey, in Carmarthenshire and Cardigan- 
shire, and the Neath, the Avon, the Ogmore and other rivers. I leave this circumstanci t<> the 
natural philosopher to account for ; the fact is. as 1 have stated. 

"In the Usk, the same fish are caught as in the Wye, except the pike, the grayling, the perch, 
the gudgeon, the cray fish and the muscle: but this river is celebrated princpially for its trout, which 
certainly is equal in flavour to any in the kingdom; it is in season from the beginning of March to 
the middle of July, and if not destroyed by poachers, who take them at every period in the year, 
and of all sizes, and particularly with a kind of net called a. perch net. which is suspended upon a 
long pole, by means of horn rings and is used in the night, they would form a. much more abundant, 
and of course a cheaper article of food, for a fourth of the year: but the pernicious and infamous 
practice of throwing unslaked lime into brooks, where it is known they resort to deposit their spawn, 
destroys them by myriads and does more mischief than can be well calculated at the same time that 
the fish thus killed are scarcely eatable. 


" Geraldus Cambrensis, speaking of Breconshire, says, 1 flxivialibua quogue Piscibus abundai quos 
hinc Osca inde Vaga ministrat ; Salmonibus etiam ct Trutis utraque,- sed plus Mis I aga phis istis Osca fcecunda 
est. In this, as in most other instances (when he has not a miracle in view) he is perfectly correct ; how 
highly then are we indebted to Providence who has formed in our rivers these abundant store houses 
for our use ' The benefits are obvious : but sufficient care is not taken to preserve and multiply the 
advantages which we might derive from so plenteous a source. We have seen and felt years of 
scarcity and are continually complaining of the high prices of provisions, at the same time that the 
ocean which surrounds our shores offers a never failing supply to our wants, and our rivers may 
considerably contribute to the same purpose ; yet man, weak and erring man, either neglects to use 
or endeavours to intercept the bounties of his Creator and to prevent his fellow creatures from par- 
ticipating in the blessings he bestows upon them. Foreigners, either more necessitous or more attentive 
to their interest, are permitted to avail themselves of our indolence and to deprive us of those riches 
which industry might make our own, while our rivers are obstructed with weirs to prevent us from 
receiving a supply evidently intended for the general good of the inhabitants of those lands through 
which they flow, and this in order to produce or promote a monopoly. 3 The salmon are induced to 
ascend rivers for three purposes, 4 safety from the porpus and other marine adversaries, in search of 
food or to deposit their spawn ; in the two first cases, the fish are in general active and healthy, 
and the flesh is, of course, firm and palatable, or (as it is called) in season. In this state, they 
frequently during floods in the spring and early part of the summer, travel to an amazing distance from 
the ocean in pursuit of their food, which is most abundant at this time of the year, consisting prin- 
cipally of the young of the trout and other fresh water fishes, as well as insects ; if the salmon, 
however, are obstructed when they quit the sea from either of these first mentioned motives, a very 
small obstacle drives them back again, and they perhaps never return. I say return, because it is 
very well known that the same fish always frequent the same rivers, and even the young fry are 
partial to the stream which first conveyed them to the sea. This is one among many of the serious 
mischiefs occasioned by these weirs, independent of the opportunities they afford the proprietors of 
increasing the scarcity and raising the prices at their pleasure ; but this is not the only mode which 
the selfishness of man has discovered to lessen the stores graciously sent him by the merciful Giver 
of all good things. The fish coming up to spawn are not deterred by ordinary difficulties, or prevented 
from their purposes by trifling impediments ; it is indeed wonderful to relate or consider what obstacles 
they will surmount to accomplish the great end of nature, but when they have made their way 
against the swiftest currents and even successfully resisted the force of cataracts, they are still 
frequently unable to escape from man, their greatest and most indefatigable adversary. Upon their 

1 Itin. 1. 1. cap. 2. community, that all weirs should be abolished, and a satisfaction 

2 " And there is salmons in both," says Fluellin. Was made to the proprietors by the inhabitants of the parishes in the 
Shakespeare thinking of Ger. Cambrensis 's description of Brecon- neighbourhood through which the rivers run. empowering them, 
shire, when he put this speech in the mouth of a character sup- at the same tune that the streams are free to all. under certain 
posed to be of that county ? regulations, to punish those who may be detected in taking 

3 We would not be understood here to quarrel with the rights the fish with destructive net, or engines and at improper 
of fishery in the possession of individuals which they are clearly seasons. 

and legally intitled to enjoy as freely and fully as any other * The fish are also infested with vermin at certain seasons, 

species of property, but merely to submit it to the consideration which it is said they get rid of upon coming into fresh water, 
of the legislature whether it would not be for the good of the 


approaching the source of rivers where the stream is shallow or diminished, their pursuer watches them 
near a narrow gully, and either in the day time, or by burning a bundle of straw at night, by the 
light of which they are attracted, strikes them with a spear formed for this purpose and drags them 
from their element at a time when the flesh is nauseous, if not unwholesome ; although the death of a 
single lisii is frequently attended with the destruction of millions in embryo, who would otherwise 
have contributed to the common Mock of the adjacent county. It is true, it may be said, that there 
are at present laws against their destruction in this manner and at this season of the year ; but these 
laws are become a dead letter, the unthinking peasant laughs at those penalties which he knows will 
never be enforced, and while the law sleeps, claims a right to exercise that avocation which good 
sense and sound policy, as well as the ordinance of the legislature, prohibit. A few words more upon 
this subject and it is concluded ; probably it will not be generally considered as of that serious import 
it deserves, but at a time when an additional number of mouths is introduced into the country and 
the neighbourhood, 1 few if any of whom raise the twentieth part of the fruits of the earth they 
consume, any hint tending to promote the increase of provisions is of consequence and ought to be 
attended to." In the county of Brecon may be found at least 1,000 acres of land which either are or 
may be covered with water at a trifling expence and which are unfit for the general purposes of 
agriculture ; the number of brooks intersecting it in all directions and the quantity of water they 
convey is amply sufficient for forming a reservoir or pond in almost every farm within this district, 
which if stocked with fish would furnish a ready supply for the tables of private families or for sale 
in the public markets, and yet none of our farmers and few of our gentry seem to be fully sensible 
of these advantages. It is surely unnecessary to point them out or to observe at how cheap a rate 
they may be obtained and secured ; they lack neither labour or manure and the husbandman derives 
from them a never failing annual crop without the trouble of sowing or the expence of seed. Surely 
then I may be permitted to recommend to my countrymen that they would avail themselves of those 
capabilities" (not everywhere attainable) of adding to their stores and multiplying their resources, when 
this end can with so much facility be prompted and with so little difficulty be preserved." 2 


The county is intersected by four ranges of mountains. (1) A range in the extreme north of the 
county running east and west,' dividing the parish of Llanwrthwl from the Vale of the Yrvon. 
Amongst these mountains are found slate and lead, and on the north slopes are the mineral springs 
of Llanwrtyd and Llangammarch. Much of the north slope has been acquired by Birmingham. The 
highest point is Drygarn (Druids rock), 2,120 feet above the sea. 

(2) The Epynt (ascent), a name familiar to English ears in Epping Forest. This line runs from 
Carmarthenshire across Brecknock from west to east, terminating in the Vale of Wye at Llyswen ; to 
the north of this range lies the hundred of Builth and the Vale of Yrvon; to the south the great 
Central Valley of the Usk, the ancient Brecheiniog, from which the modern county takes its name. 
The top of the Epynt presents no notable peak to the eye ; it is rather a plateau of great extent, 
having a sharp escarpment to the north ; the southern slope more gradual forming a series of dingles 
each with its brook flowing to the fertile valley of the Usk. 

(3) The third, or Beacon range, runs from the Carmarthen Beacon on the west through the entire 
length of the county in an easterly direction forming the southern wall of the great Usk Valley, 
dividing the agricultural old red sand stone from the iron and coal basin. On their south slope are the 
Brecknock parishes of Ystradgunlais, Ystradfellte, Penderyn, and Vaynor, heads of mineral valleys, the 
lower parts of which are in Glamorgan. Still on the southern slope, but further eastward, are the 
parishes of Llechrhyd, Dukestown, Rassa, and Beaufort, in the geographical county of Brecknock, but 
placed in 1888 within the administrative county of Monmouth ; beyond them again is Brynmawr, in 
Brecknock, at the extreme south east, after which the range of mountains passes to the county of 
Monmouth. Towering amongst his gigantic neighbours rises the Brecknock Beacon, 2,900 feet in 
height, for sublime grandeur difficult to surpass. The great mass of mountain is old red sand stone. 
To the west the southern slope is carboniferous lime stone which crossing the hill on the Llangynidr 
side of the Dyffryn Crawnon dingle, forms, that magnificent escarpment on the north side of the 
mountain which is so notable a feature in the Vale of Crickhowell. 

(4) The fourth and last range, rising at Buckland. north of the Yale of the Usk, here only a 
mile in breadth, stretches over six miles northward, having on the west Lake Llangorse, and on the 
east the Valley of Cwmdu. Here, turning on the mountain Mynnyddtroed as on a pivot, and sinking for 
a moment to the pass of Pen-y-cefn ffordd, only a thousand feet above the sea, the range continues 

1 In the Iron Manufactories. 2 The Irvon lias nearly the same fish as the Wye. 


further ten miles to the north east, presenting a grand cliff from Talgarth to Hay, and throwing out 
to the south subsidiary ranges which enclose the Valleys of Cwmdu, Gwryne fechan, and Gwryne fawr, 
and others, which being in the counties of Monmouth and Hereford, are beyond the limits oi the 
present volume. 


Theophilus Jones' description of the mountains is as follows : — " This county is intersected on 
the North and South by two long ranges of mountains, the one goes by the general name of Epynt, 
an obsolete word for hill, an ascent or slope : it begins on the West, on the confines of Carmar- 
thenshire, terminates on the East at Llyswen in Breconshire and divides for the greatest part of the 
line the hundred of Builth from the remainder of the county. The district tailed Gwlad Faullt or the 
country of Builth lies on the Northern side of Epynt ; the upper or Western part anciently belonged 
to the princes of Dinas fawr, now Dinevor, and in 1164 was granted by Rhys ap Griffith to the abbey 
of Strata Florida or Ystradfllur in Cardiganshire, and the vale of lrvon as wed as the Cwm or dingle 
through which the Whefri runs, together with the lands bordering on the Wye, were at different times 
parcel of the possession of the princes of Fferreg, 1 Fferregs, or Fferlex, the princes of Powis and the 
lords of Elvel : it was not 'till long after the conquest by Bernard Newmarch that it was considered 
as part of Brecknockshire. Philip de Breos was the first lord of Brecknock who united this tract, 
which he acquired by conquest, to those dominions he possessed in right of his wife, yet it was 
afterwards frequently dissevered from them by the Mortimers, and sometimes it formed part of the 
lordship of Melenydd in Radnorshire: nature indeed seems to have placed a formidable barrier between 
it and the more Southern parts of the county, from which it differs materially in soil and considerably 
in climate. The soil of those parts adjoining Caermarthenshire and Cardiganshire, consisting of what 
is commonly called mountain land, is mostly peat and full of bogs, while that of the vales is argil- 
laceous and has some resemblance in colour to the bark of an ash, the remainder of Breconshire is 
reddish sand or sandy loam upon a substratum of gravel, and wants a due proportion of clay to 
render it sufficiently tenacious for the general purposes of vegetation ; and the atmosphere of Builth. - 
which is much higher is of course colder than the greatest part of the hundreds of Talgarth, Merthyr, 
Penkelley and Crickhowel. 

"The other range of mountains, dividing Glamorganshire and afterwards Monmouthshire from 
Breconshire, commences on the West with Bannau Shir-Gaer, or the Carmarthenshire beacons, from 
whence they run in a line nearly parallel with the Epynt hills, though inclining as they proceed more 
towards the South, and terminate in Monmouthshire ; having the vale of Usk on the North. Along 
this bleak and otherwise barren tract of high ground runs a vein of limestone, the course of which is 
minutely and accurately described in a curious old MS. lately published in (lie second volume of the 
Cambrian Reg'ster, supposed to have been wr'tten by George Owen, esq. 3 The lime is first discovered 
in Pembrokeshire, it then crosses Carmarthenshire and enters Breconshire on the West at Twyn melyn, 
in the hamlet of Palleg. in the parish of Ystradgynlais, from thence it proceeds eastward to Cribarth, 
Penwyll or Pannau and to Carnau Gwynnion, in Ystradfelltc, soon after which it trends to the South 
East with the mountains, leaves the Brecknock beacons to the North, is again seen in Glyn-collwm 
and Pen-rhiw-calch and afterwards in Llanddetty, Llangynidr. Llangattock and Llanelly, when it 
enters into Monmouthshire. Upon our approach to this latter county, we have in Brecknockshire the 
vein of coal which supplies us principally as well as part of Radnorshire with that article ; to convey 
which, a canal has been lately cut to the town of Brecon, and in the neighbourhood of these collieries, 
iron works have been established and arc continually increasing, but these subjects will be more 
properly treated upon when I come to the description of the places or parishes where they are 


" Between the two ridges of mountains thus hastily travelled over, a third commences abruptly, 
at or near Talgarth, and is known in different places by the names of the Black mountains in Breck- 
nockshire and the Hatterell hills, in Hereforashire. From these another line brandies across in a 
direction from North to South about eight miles below Brecon, divining the hundred of Crickhowell 

1 Rhosfferreg, now called Rhosferig, in Llanfihangel-bryn- vein of limestone from Pembrokeshire into Caermarthenshire 

pabuan, was one of the mansions ,.f Klv.-tim ( il< idrydd, prince and so into Breconshire, he brings it from Blancollwm to Llan 

of Fferreg, in 1010, and is now (1800) the property of one of las grwyne, " where it crosses the t'sk to Tavern Haeshir, further 

lineal descendants. than tvhich (says he) 1 have not learned the course oi the said 

- The neighbourhood of the town of Builth must here be vayne. " We were in hopes indeed we should have been able to 

excepted, for near that place and from theme downward on the have treated this subject more aci as well as scientifically, 

banks of the Wye, vegetation is as forward as in any part of but the gentleman to "1 i we were referred refused the requested 

the county. * information, nol merely with abruptness, but rudeness, from an 

3 Lord'of Kemeys in Pembrokeshire; he lived in the 17th apprehension (we presume) that «• were endeavouring to pilfer 

century and left several MSS. behind him: after tracing the the secrets of his trade, in order to apply them to his prejudice 


from the hundreds of Talgarth and Penkelley. In that portion of the county lying Eastward of this 
hill, the air is perceptibly milder and vegetation more forward than on the Western side of the pass 
called Bwlch ; it is however remarkable that though the quantity of rain falling in Brecon is nearly 
double that which falls in London in the same space of time, yet the atmosphere there is not much 
colder than that of the metropolis, though rather more variable. The great excess of rain observable 
on a comparison with a London meteorological journal may be easily accounted for, by the vicinity 
of Brecon to the Southern range of hills, and particularly to the Bannau Brecheiniog. The great 
height of the beacons frequently intercepts the clouds charged with watery particles in their passage 
from the South or South West, from whence the rainy wind generally blows ; thus separated or dis- 
persed they descend in rain, and it must be admitted that when these mountains are covered with 
snow, we occasionally feel — 

The icy fang 
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind, 
Which bites and blows upon our bodies, 
Ev'n till we shrink with cold. 

" But these inconveniences (if such they be) are amply compensated for by the advantages we 
derive from them : the rough blast that sweeps their tops brings with it ruddy health into our vallies 
and dissipates or drives before it those pestilential exhalations or fumes, which either nature or the 
works or wants of mankind produce to the prejudice of animal life ; hence epidemic disorders are 
seldom known, and never so fatal here as in large towns in England, and to these hills we may in a 
great measure attribute our protection from accidents by lightening, which are rarely heard of in 
their vicinity. Imagination can scarcely paint objects more sublime and picturesque than the three 
lofty peaks of those nearly precipitous elevations, and continued as they are by a long range of 
mountains, which is terminated by the conical Sugar-loaf near Abergavenny, they form such an outline 
as can only be described by the pencil ; the reader therefore is referred to the sketch at the bottom 
of the map of the county. 


In considering the rainfall of Brecknock, the three years 1895, 1896, 1897, have been taken; these 
are the latest observations available at the time of writing. During those years, schemes to supply 
Birmingham and London with pure water from the mountains of Brecknock have excited intense 
interest, and the ranks of meteorologists, both professional and amateur, within the county, have been 
largely recruited. For the sake of comparison it may be stated that during the three years mentioned, 
gauges variously placed at Greenwich Observatory have shown readings varying from 13 inches to 
■2-2. The driest parts of England have an average rainfall of about 21 inches; 30 inches may be an 
average for England and the more important agricultural districts of Scotland. Brecknock, exposed 
to the damp south west winds of the Atlantic, and opposing to them lofty mountains reducing the 
temperature to the point of saturation, has as large a rainfall as any found south of the Cumberland 
Lake country. The gauge at Nant y Car, in the parish of Llanwrthwl, with a mountain altitude of 
over 1,500 feet, gave in L897 a fall of 90 inches; further down the valley, at Nantgwilt, a point now 
submerged by the Birmingham reservoir, the gauge registered (Hi inches. In the Yrvon Valley, soon 
perhaps to be acquired for London, the high valley of Abergwessin has a rainfall varying from 60 
to 75 inches ; at Builth, 500 feet lower, the fall is from 30 to 40 inches. In the south of the county, 
the gauge placed at Taff Vechan has registered the enormous total of over 101 inches, at an altitude 
of 2,100 feet. At Brecon, the fall has varied from 30 inches to 48 inches. At Crickhowell, the south 
side of the valley, influenced by the propinquity to the hills of Llangynidr, has a rainfall slightly 
higher than is found north of the Usk, the gauges registering 37 to 50 inches. The driest record in 
the county is at Gwernyfed, near Hay, which is sheltered by mountains to the south, and where the 
rainfall has been as low as 20 inches, and has not exceeded 40. For good or for ill, the destinies 
of Brecknock must be largely influenced by its rainfall ; to the mountains that cause it, to the rivers 
which are its result, we are indebted for the beauty of the scenery, for sheep pasturage, and for the 
sport of fishing. Yet it is a' heritage which has attracted the cupidity of great cities, which covet 
the water for domestic and commercial purposes, until it seems likely that in the immediate future fair 
valleys will be submerged beneath deep lakes. With what effect upon the future of the county ? Who can say ! 


/•'( i t filmn 


Name of Station. 





Llanwrthwl-Nant y C 


65. 15 



























32. G5 




26 . 88 


ve ground. 


Feet above Sea. Name of Station. 1895. 1890. 1897 

South of the County. 

2099 Tafi Vechan (No. 6) ' 88.65 

860 Pentwyn Reservoir 60.89 

447 Brecon Barracks 30.11 

330 Crickhowell-Penmyarth 37.77 

350 Gwernyfed— Hay 32.46 

Diameter of all gauges, 5 inches, placed 1 foot 


Though archaeologists have here and there found what they deem to be indications of a previous 
race, the Celts are the earliest historical people of Wales. Starting, it is supposed, from the temperate 
regions of Central Asia, they have travelled across Europe, and are now to he found in the extreme 
West : in Ireland, Scotland! the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. The only method of 
tracing their place of origin is in a eomparity study of languages, from which a, well known Welsh 
professor has shown what manner of men they were. They lived in houses with doors, were possessed 
of cattle, horses, sheep and dogs ; they wore clothing of wool, from which is inferred their home was 
in a climate somewhat cold. Passing over the Continent, they have left behind them Celtic place- 
names, from which their journeying can he reconstructed. Here we arc only concerned with the 
subject so far as it is illustrated by the place-name's of the county of Brecknock. 

The place names of Wales, a standing joke amongst those in whose ears they have an unaccus- 
tomed sound, are generally words "I much beauty, never without signification, conveying with accuracy 
the position of the place indicated, or the natural character which prevailed when the name was given, 
preserving the memory of historical events which have passed from the written records of the nation ; 
even, as has been above stated, enabling the student to dive into the dim recesses of the past and 
say, with an approach to certainty, of our primeval ancestors whence they came and what manner of 
men they were. Thus from a study of its names, we may view our own county again a land of moor 
and woodland untouched by the hand of man. replenish its valleys with wolf and deer, and connect 
our own people with their Eastern forefathers whose migrations it is beyond our purpose here to follow, 
but which may become clear to any enquirer who will note on the map of Europe names Celtic in 
origin, and possessing the same root as those which we find around us in Brecknock. 

Before dealing with the names of our own county, a word as to Wales collectively may not be 
without interest. In nearly every country the people call themselves "the people"; strangers, not 
understanding this speech, give them some name by which the fact is emphasised. The Germany 
amongst themselves are "Deutsche" the people: to the French they arc " Alle Manni," other men. 
To the Creeks the tongue of foreigners sounded an inarticulate " Ha Ha." so they termed them 
barbaroi. The Welsh call themselves "Cwrnri," the compatriots, while the Teutons, to whose each 
the foreign tongue sounded an inarticulate Wa-W'a, styled the land Wales a foreign place. Conveying 
the same idea are other words. Walnut, the foreign nut, the German word waller to wander, from 
which wallet, the sack of the wandering pilgrim. The name can be traced round the whole circuit of 
Teutonic occupancy. Walschland is their name for Italy; the Germans of Heme call their Southern 
neighbour Canton Wallis. Nearer home is Corn-wall, the last syllable of which was originally Wales. 

The Teutonic W and the Celtic C being convertible letters, we get by mutation of the first letter 
the root "Gal," our l'rince of Wales becoming in France Le Prince de Galles. The same rule being 
applied to the name of Wales, it becomes connected with Gaul, with Cal-Edoreia, Gal-way and Galla- 
wav : possibly with Ar-gyle, with Donegal, and with Portu-gal. 


Of special value in the investigation of primeval history are river names. Over the greater part 
of Europe we find villages with appellations of later date standing by streams still bearing Celtic 
names. Throughout England there is scarcely a river name that is not Celtic; nearly the sole evidence 
that survives of a once universal Celtic occupation of the land. River names are divided into two 
classes. (I) words signifying water, (2) adjectives marking the nature of the stream, smooth or swift, 
clear or mudilv. glassv or black, and so on. Six Celtic words meaning water give names to the 
principal rivers in Europe — Wysg, Wye, Dwr, Rhin, Don, Afon ; of these the two first are of primary 
importance to us. Wysg water and the related Gwy. a channel, will be recognised as the Usk and 
Wye, round which two rivers are grouped the main features of the county of Brecknock. The names 
indicate that to our untravelled ancestors these two rivers were to them "the water" to the exclu- 
sion of all others. Besides the Usk there is in this county the Eskir, from the same root. To it, also, 


etymologists refer the Exe, with its towns of Ex-eter and Ex-mouth. The Axe, giving its name to 
Ax-minster ; Uxbridge conveys a hint that the Colne on the Roman Colonia, on which it stands, 
may once have home the name of Ux. The Ocke joins the Thames near Oxford, while Thames itself, 
Tam-isis the broad water, bears in its latter syllables the same word. Wisford, Wisley, Wiston, and 
the. Wash in the East of England own the same parentage, while the waters of them all may be 
diluted with whiskey, or usque bach, under which names of water the Scotch and Irish delicately con- 
ceal the strong drink of their country. Abroad there are, in Spain the Esca ; in France the Ose ; in 
Germany, Ise and Axe ; in Italy the Issa ; in Southern Austria, Istria (Is-terra) a country half land 
and half water, with its capital Trieste. Tre-este, the same word compounded with Tre, a town, word 
common with us, and meaning the town by the sea. From the closely related word Guy or Wy, we 
get the Wye, which forms the North Eastern boundary of Brecknock. There is a river Wey in Hamp- 
shire, Dorset, and Surrey ; it occurs in combination in Con-way and Vryn-wy, both in Wales. In the 
Solent, formerly Ye wyth, the channel, is the Isle of Wight (Ynys y Wyth) possibly still preserving 
the name. Similar river names exit in France and Germany. 

Dwr is a third word signifying water ; it does not occur within the county as a river name, though 
Gwen-ddwr (" white water ") is the name of a parish. Amongst the English lakes the same combina- 
tion occurs in Derwet-water. In the neighbouring county of Hereford the brook Dore gave its name 
to Abbey-Dore. Miswritten by the Normans Abbey Dor, the Abbey of Gold, it gave rise to the faulty 
translation "The Golden Valley." The word is common in all parts of the British Isles, in France, 
Italy, Germany, and Spain, where the Douro is great amongst the rivers of Europe. 

The two great rivers of the county being thus the water and the river, smaller streams need a 
closer and more accurate description, that people may know at once what stream is meant. The colour 
of the water appeals to the eye for beauty or picturesqueness. The Romans loved to call the Tiber 
" Flavus," the yellow river. The Zankins had a similar meaning. With us Nant-melyn, the yellow 
stream, rises amongst the high lands of Llanwrthwl. Nant-gwyn is the white brook. Du-ar, black water, 
a stream at Llanelly. Du-las at Hay (Du-glas) black green, may be followed elsewhere in the patronymic 
Douglas ; perhaps in the name of another stream Bran, the raven, the same idea is expressed. It 
would be ungrateful in the present writer to omit Nant-y-glo, the Coal Brook, to whose black diamonds 
the South East corner of the county owed, half a century ago. its sudden burst of prosperity. 

The swift flowing mountain streams may be indicated in Flan. " the hind," northern boundary of 
Brecknock ; into the same valley flows Nant Garw, the rough stream, a name which may possibly be 
traced in Grwyne-Garw-wye ; more certainly in Garway in Hereford, and elsewhere in the Garry, the 
Yarrow, and the Garonne. Nant-garw, another of the names at Swansea, was well known as a manu- 
factory of porcelain. In the south of the county flows the Mellte, the darting stream (melten, a 
thunderbolt); in Llangynidr the Vail ( >. Hual strong water) once gave its name to a church; in the 
same neighbourhood the same rapid may be rendered by Crawnant (Cryw-nant). the Bucks brook, near 
to which Buckland has borne its name from early times. Bwch, the Buck, gives its name to a second 
stream, and Cray, a deer, to yet another. Nant y flaiddast, brook of the wolf, and Nant-y-hebog, the 
hawks brook, still indicate the mildness of the scenery, or perhaps preserve the memory of a savage 
fauna now extinct. 


In opposition to their mountain torrents let us place Llynfi, the brook from Llyn (the lake), in 
old books the stream is written Leveni ; lefu (smooth) being appropriate to a lake, and giving its 
name alike to the mountain tarn, haunt of teal and wild duck ; and to the stiller pools of Wye, 
where the salmon, tired with travel from the sea, may rest awhile ere he continue his laborious ascent. 
The reader need scarcely be reminded of Loch Leven in Scotland, and may possibly observe the 
same root in the Irish Lean; the Lain in Cornwall; the Lincoln; Kings Lynn; Linlcthgow ; Linton, 
and so on. The more graceful aspect of our rippling streams is further illustrated in Cledau, the 
sheltered brook and the pebbly bed of Nant-y-gro. Generally this may be worthy of note, that 
amongst the steep valleys of Northern Brecknock, the names of brooks generally indicate tumultuous 
descent. To those that have been mentioned may be added Nant y Rhostir, brook of the Moorland, 
from Rhos y Moor, we may pluck " rush " the moorland plant. Nant-rhydd-coch, the brook of the 
red ford, seems also to tell of mountain and heather ; Yrfon is derived by Jones from Yr mawn, 
oozing from peat. Dihonow, entering Wye a mile below Builth, is Du-nawn-Wye, the black swift 
water. The Llogan lake and brook (from halogan corrupted) mark one and all the nature of the 
landscape. On the southern slope of the Beacon range the limestone rock, worn by the water drop 
of ages into caves and crevice, will sometimes conceal its stream, now tumbling headlong into sub- 
terranean chasm, now burrowing amidst boulders ; whence, while the bed is dry beneath the foot of 


the traveller, can be heard the murmuring of the hidden brook, remarkable features leading to char- 
acteristic nomenclature. One brook is Turch (a hog) from it- burrowing propensity; another Eepste 
(dried tip), he-pin meaning a ewe which gives no milk; Sych Rhyd (the dry turd) conveys a similar 
idea. It would !>■• interesting to search for names of similar meaning at Adelsburg in South Austria, 
where the same natural features exist on a far larger seale 


The water plant in lied or on bank may give the name of its parent stream. Brwynog, the 
rushy; Nant v craft', pool of garlic, the scent of which is strong in the nostril of the fisherman as 
he eats his frugal meal by Wye side; Pull berrw, the pool of water cress; Cerdin, the mountain ash; 
and many another, bring back to the memory scenes of beauty amongst which is east the lot of them 
who love the gentle craft. In a county so justly esteemed by the angler, the enquiry might be 
pushed further, each likely spot where the salmon will rise, each stream noted for trout has its proper 
name. Two mile- below "Builth, where the Wye for about half a mile surges through a narrow cleft 
in the rock, there are in succession Ffrwd wen' the white stream ; next Hell hole, the danger of which 
is conveyed by its name; Cavarn hir, the long caravan; Graig ddu, whose "black rock "rears its 
angry head above the waters, after which Wye. delivered from its arduous passage, flows into Llyn 
hen,' the Old pool, mentioned in history as being near the residences of the Welsh princes at Aberedw. 
Similiarly on the Usk are the Dwfnant, the deep stream; Nant y fin (tin is a boundary), where the 
parishes' meet ; and Cam pull, where Usk makes a bent elbow a mile and a half above Crickhowell. 
Cam-bent is a common word in brook names. The Cam at Cambridge gives the names in its simple 
form. Arms "a kimbo " gives the bent arm of the defiant roysterer. In Scotland, an ill-favoured 
chieftain of Loehiel has given to a elan the name of Cam-eron, wry-nosed, while amongst us the 
squint-eve of the brave David Llewelyn (the Fluelyn of Shakespeare) has left his better known soubroi- 
quet of' David Gam (" squinting David ") as a name Games, honourably borne in the 10th century by many 
a good man and true. 

Towns, farms, and houses, are very commonly named from the position they occupy with regard 
to the rivers on which they stand. The amphitheatre of hills from which each streamlet flows is 
.ailed a " cum." Anglicised to Combe it is well-known as Ilfra-combe, Wy-combe, and perhaps in 
Cum-berland. Here, in nearly every valley is a house bearing the name Cwm-onney ; Cwm-elan, the 
Cu-mdu, the black valley; Llandewi yr Cw'm, St. David's in the vale, separates the parish from others 
named after the same Bishop. 

Blaen, the foremost part gives its name to places facing the brook. The ruined Castle of Blaen- 
llvnn faces Llynfi ere it flows into; Blaena and Blaenavon are well-known neighbouring 
towns. Gian, '"on the banks of," gives name to one or more houses by every river. Cynimer, the 
meeting of two brooks, gives its name to Cofn-Coed-Cymmer, the town placed at the spot where the 
greater" and lesser Taf mingle their waters. Of Aber. "the mouth," where brook falls into river, or 
river into sea, it is hardly necessary to give instances. For health, we seek Aber-ystwith, or Bar- 
mouth, name corrupted from Aber-mowddog ; we sing of the bells of Aber-dovey ; we trade at Aber- 
gavenny • while our country town ol Brecon is still in the Welsh tongue Aberhonddu, where the 
brook Honddu joins the I'sk. 


Mountain names must be treated at less length than those of rivers. Pen, a head, is common 
through Wales. Cornwall, and elsewhere. The top of Crickhowell hill has two peaks, respectively Pen- 
eerrig-calch and Pen-cloch-Piboa (the Piper's .lock). Pen-pont is a parish near Brecon. For a county, 
Pem-broke, the head of the land ; in Scotland. Ben Nevis, and others ; abroad, the Pen-nine Alps, 
and the A-penn-ines. Bryn. a brow, we know well ; Bryn-mawr, the great brow, is our one mining 
town; abroad wc hear of Bran-denbug ; and those who' have travelled in the Tyrol will remember 
the Bren-ner pass. Cefn, a ridge, gives its name to Cefn-coed, once a wooded ridge, now teaming 
with a mining population. Pen y genffordd, (Pen-y-cefn ffordd). head of the ridge road, occurs twice 
within the limits of the count v.' Coed, a wood, the second component in Cefncoed, used throughout 
the county with car (a field); Coed-car, the rough field enclosed from the mountain and attached to 
nearly every hill side farm. Nearly allied is Maes, a field; Tal-y-maes, the head of the field; Maes- 
derwvn oak field: Maes-celyn, holly field; Gwlydd vacs, corrupted into Gliffacs, the dewy field, between 
Myarth hill and Usk. where the mist of the river, penned in a narrow valley, has fallen in excessive 
moisture since it first bur.' the name in the .lavs of Giraldus Cambrensis ; Erw, an acre; Gil, a corner; 
and dol, a meadow; will each occur to everyone as an ordinary prefix, bul space will not admit or 
examples. Garth has been dealt with in discussing the ancieni name of Garthmadryn. Talgarth is 
the front of the Garth; Taly-bont the head of the "bridge ; Tal-yllyn, the front of the lake; Hay is a 


place hedged around, and is the name of the frontier town bewixt Wales and England, commonly 
prefixed by the definite article ; here we speak of the Hay as in France they have La Haye Sainte. 
It is the same as the German words " hag." a town, and " hagen " to hedge ; it is contained in the 
ha-ha fence, and haw thorn is the beautiful hedge flower. 

Dinas, a fortress, occurs several times in the county. Amongst the northern hills the slate 
quarries of Alt Dinas; at Llanwrtyd, Dinas, place of origin of I he Lloyd family, who have named 
after it their house of Dinas, near' Brecknock. South of Talgarth is the manor of Dinas, taking its 
name, perhaps, from Dinas Castle, perched on a lofty ridge, commanding the pass from Crickhowell 
to the north. We hear the altic root, dun. a hill fortress, in Lon-don. and abroad in Thun and 
Au-tun, once August! dunum, the fortress of Augustus. Caer is the Celtic equivalent to Castra, a 
camp. Gaer at Cumdu is said to have been the summer quarters of a legion. Gaer as Aberyskir 
is more clearly marked, the square with a cemetery at one corner being characteristic of the abiding 
place of a Roman army. If other Caers you seek, journey to Caer-marthen, Caerphilly, or Car-drff 
(Caer-taff). Let us mention a few historical names, and have done. The Dinas and the Gaer tell of 
Briton or Roman, the Castle of Norman or later Welsh prince ; yet in every case the name is des- 
criptive, the builder has passed from mortal ken ; here and there some battle of bygone days is 
hinted at. Rhos-y-beddau, "the moorland graves," at Llanwrthul, tell of an old time slaughter: at 
Cefn-y-bedd, "the ridge-grave," Llewelyn, last Prince of Wales, met his death. Ynys y marchog, 
" Knicht's island," recalls the ancient days of chivalry. Battle was a cell to Battle Abbey. Tir-abbot, 
"abbot's land;" Wern y mynael, "monk's meadow:" Monaehty, "the Monk's dwelling;" Chaunter's 
Wood " the spital or hospice," Pont escob, " the Bishop's bridge," speaks of a day when ecclesias- 
tics possessed a goodly slice of the land; Nantyrarian, "the brook of silver," near Builth, reminds 
us that when the plague raged, in its cleansing waters was placed the money due to country folk for 
food supplied the stricken town. To those who care to make the attempt, the place names of nearly 
every parish would provide research of much interest, but want of space prevents our pursuing the 
subject further. 


History continued from the Invasion of the Romans during their stay in Britain and after their departure, to the 
Reign and Death of Brychan Brycheiniog about the year of Christ 450. 


NOTWITHSTANDING what has been said in the former chapter, writes Theophilus Jones', 
"concerning the division of South Wales into Sylhvg or Owenl and Dyfed may seem sufficient 
perhaps tedious to the reader, it is absolutely necessary, before I proceed t<> notice the Roman 
invasion of this country, to dwell a few minutes longer upon the same subject. 

"From the authorities already mentioned, as well as several others which might be collected, it 
is clearly seen that the inhabitants of South Wales consisted of two several tribes, the one calling 
themselves by the names of Syllwyr, Rssyllwyr or Gwenhwyswyr, and the other Dyfedwyr or Gwyr 
Dyfed. The current tradition of a very remote period (which in this instance is entitled to nearly 
equal credit with historic documents) has conveyed to posterity the distinction and the difference of 
dialect, as well as manners, between the men of Gwent and Morganwg and those of Dyfed, in Brecon- 
shire and Carmarthenshire, at this day confirms the fact : but however well known this might have 
been to the natives, it is by no means clear that the early Roman authors wire acquainted wit 1 1 the 
circumstance; on the contrary it will be evident that Tacitus and all other foreign waiters before 
Ptolomy. describe the whole of South Wale- as (he country of the Silures. I will not now take upon 
me to determine, nor could it perhaps pertinently be discussed, whether the British word Syllwyr 
travelled from Wales into England and from thence to Rome, where ii became the parent of Silures, 
or whether the latter appellation was not immediately applied to this region by the Romans, upon 
their first bird's eye view from .Malvern or some other commanding eminence on the borders of Wales, 
as peculiarly descriptive of the general appearance of the Southern part of the principality, at that 
time entirely covered with wood. 


"Pliny, speaking of Ireland, says it is distant only thirty miles from the country of the Silures; 
here it is clear that by the latter he meant Pembrokeshire, evidently part of Dyfed to every British 
reader. Tacitus ' mentions only the Silurum (ions as conquered by Julius Frontinus, though it is certain 
that the greatest part of South Wales was overrun by that victorious commander Mr. Pinkerton con- 
ceives the term Silures to have been rather generic than confined: 'the whole South of England (says 
he) was possessed by the ]'>elg;e. save Devonshire and Cornwall, in which and in the South half of 
Wales dwelt the Silures. a numerous people in two nations; the Dumnonii Southmost and the Demetas 
in South Wales.' 

"That the Dumnonii were Silure; (continues lie) appears (dear from this, that Tacitus says the 
Silures lived opposite to Spain and the Dumnonii were in fact the only people opposite to Spain: 
the chief of the Scilly islands is called Silura by Solinus and the present name seems to spring from 
it, besides the Silures are mentioned as a vast people, like the Belgce and Cimbri, and must of course 
have had various tribes, for if they were only one tribe in South Wales, as supposed. Tacitus would 
not have mentioned them as a distinct race, for they would have been loo minute for notice: we 
may therefore very fairly conclude with Mr Pinkerton, that however the natives described and sub- 
divided themselves, under the generic term Silures, the It an historian meant when he spoke of the 

conquest by Frontinus, the whole circuit of South Wales or Deheubarth, the inhabitants of which 
uniting in one common cause and probably led on by one tijwysog, leader or general en chef, were 
naturally enough regarded ami spoken of by foreigners as one people. 

"The first Roman general, whom we know with any certainty to have penetrated into South 
Wales was Ostorius Scapula, who came into Britain in the year of Christ 51 ; for though his predecessor 
Plautius had several battles with Caradoc or Caractacus, yet whether Caractacus made incursions into 
what were then considered a- the Roman territories ,,r was attacked in his own does not appear; 
that he was a very troublesome neighbour is evident for Tacitus says " non atrocitate non dementia 
mutabatur, quin bellum exceret eastrisque legionum premendo foret." For nine years did Caractacus with 


his half-armed, undisciplined and almost naked troops defy the veteran Roman legions, cased in armour 
and accustomed to victory. The author of Drych y prif Oesoedd, or the mirror of former times, 
saj's, he fought thirty battles and that though he did not come off with a whole skin in all of them, 
he acquired much glory anil great credit to himself for his personal valour, as well as his skill as a 
general. The Silures, however, under his conduct, were unfortunately attacked and overpowered by 
the Romans in Shropshire, in the neighbourhood of Knighton (as 1 conceive), and victory at last, after 
a hard contest, declared in favour of the assailants, by which the entry of Ostorius into South 
Wales was facilitated, though it by no means effected an entire conquest. The writer 1 of the Welsh 
work just mentioned, whose patriotism may be admired, though his zeal cannot always be com- 
mended, speaking of Caractacus, says ' Efe a ymgyrchodd naw mlynedd a holl gadernid Rufain, ac a 
allasai ymdoppi naw eraill, oni bu'sei ei fradychu ef gan langces ysgeler o'i wlad ei hun a elwir Curtis 
fin-ddu. Ei araith tuag at annog ei sawdwyr. a gosod calon ynddynt, oedd at yr ystyr hvn ; L byd- 
dwch bybur a nerthol, Frutaniaid ! yr ydym yn ymladd ym mhlaid yr achos goreu yn y byd ; 
i amddiffvn ein gwlad an hciddo a'n rhvdd-did rhac Carn-Ladron a Chwiw-gwn. Atgofiwch wroldeb 
eieh teidau yn gyrru Iul Caesar ar ifo ; Caswallon, Tudur bengoch. Gronw gethin, Rhydderch wyneb- 
glawr, 'a Madoc benfras.' Ar ol ei fradychu i ddwylo ei elynion, fe a ddycpwyd yn rhwym i Rufain, 
lie bu cymaint o orfoledd a Llawenydd, a dawnsio a difvrrwch, o ddal Caradoc yn garcharwr, a phe 
buasid yn gorthtreehu gwlad o Gewri," (For nine years he opposed the whole force of the Romans, 
and he could have resisted them nine years longer if he had not been betrayed into their hands by 
a dirty drab, though one of his own country women, of the name of black-faced Curtis. 2 His 
address, to encourage and inspirit his soldiers, was to this effect : ' Britons ' Be valiant. Be 
firm. We are fighting in the noblest cause in which we can be engaged in life : in defence of our country, 
in the protection of our property and for the preservation of our liberty against a horde of highway- 
men and hirelings. 3 Call to mind the valour of your forefathers Cassibelaun, Tudor the red hair'd, 
Gronw the terrible, Roderick Broad-face and Madoc Stout-head, who made Julius Caesar turn his back 
upon our island.' When Caractacus was taken prisoner, he was sent bound to Rome, upon which event 
there was as much singing, rejoicing, dancing and merry making, as if a nation of giants had been 
conquered.) The speech of the unfortunate Briton before the emperor Claudius, is now so well known 
and has been so often repeated by the English historians, as to become familiar to most readers ; 
but it is very extraordinary, that not a syllable is mentioned in the Welsh chronicle of Tyssilio about 
this battle, or the hero who stood so high in the opinion even of his enemies. 


" It is impossible to trace with anything like accuracy, the route of Ostorius after this engage- 
ment. Much must depend upon conjecture, yet if that maj' be permitted, it should seem that he 
crossed over into Herefordshire and from thence into Caerleon in Monmouthshire, then through 
Glamorganshire along the sea coast and the line where one branch of the Julia Strata afterwards ran, 
to Caermarthen, and that he returned through Breconshire : in which case, he passed the sites of 
the stations, Magnis, Gobannitfm, Burrium, Isca Legionum, Bovium, Nidum, Leucarum, Maridunum, 
or Muridunum, Bannium or Bannio ; now called Kentehester, Abergavenny, Usk, Caerleon, Boverton, 
Neath, Loughor, Caermarthen, Caer near Brecon, and also Gaer in Cwmdu, the Roman name of 
which is lost. In this circuit, he employed his cohorts either to repair, to fortify, or to erect some 
of these military strong-holds on or near the sites of British camps, or else (as I am more inclined 
to believe) he must after the defeat of Caractacus, have crossed Radnorshire, from East to West, 
into the heart of Brecknockshire, by a British intrenchment then called Caer-van or Caer-bannau, 
where he built the station now called Gaer, and from thence he proceeded to Caermarthen ; further 
than this place (says Camden 4 ) Antoninus continues not his journey, 5 and further Westward I do 
not apprehend the Roman arms penetrated in the time of Ostorius, nor indeed for many years after- 

1 The Rev. Theophilus Evans, formerly vicar of Llangammarch, of the. human species, who comes and goes, fetches and carries, 
in Breconshire. The hook was published at Shrewsbury in 1740, upon being whistled to. 

and reprinted at Merthyr Tydvil in 1803: The quotation is given l Britannia. 

in his own language, because he had a remarkable peculiarity of 5 Richard of Cirencester, after Leucarum, (omitting Muri- 

style, which most of his countrymen admired. dunum) adds Vigessimum and Menapia, supposed to be Narberth 

2 It is not necessary to inform the Welsh render that this is and Saint David's, but these two latter stations were certainly 
not a literal translation, any more than the speech of Caractacus not built in the time of Ostorius ; and if his route was that which 
as given by Mr Evans, ran he supposed to he the very words We have laid down, the intermediate fortress of Bravinio and 
delivered by the hero to his troops, " vocabatque nomina Magnis, or Kentehester and Ludlow, and perhaps Ariconium 
majorum " is the phrase of Tacitus. Curtis fun ddu, is a fanciful or Wroxeter, were not erer-ted till the time of Suetonius Paulinus, 
Wallicism fur Cartismandua. or the conquest of the Ordovices by Agricolo, in the year of 

3 Chwiwgi it Whiwgi, of which Chwiwgwn is the plural, can- Christ 79, when they were raised to support and protect the 
not he literally translated as it is here understood, lint as nearly communications between the Roman settlements in North and 
as it can be explained in English, it means a contemptible animal South Wales. 


wards. From Caermarthen he turned Eastward through Glamorganshire to Caerleon, which then 
became the beau quarters of the second legion. 

If this was the mute that Ostorious pursued, the road or line of communication between Oaer in 
Breconshire and Caerleon in Monmouthshire was not established, or the stations of Gaer in Cwmdu, 
Gobannium, and Burrium erected till after the irruption into Wales ; at the same time it is highly 
probable that most of the Roman fortresses in this county were built during the life of this general, 
for we learn from Tacitus, that lie placed troops in them to defend his conquest, 1 who were after- 
wards attacked with such success by the inhabitants, that he broke his heart when he perceived he 
was unable to complete their subjugation. 


" Before I proceed to notice the oldest station in Breconshire admitted to be Roman, the reader 
will excuse the digression, if I say a few words upon British fortresses ; a subject so well and so 
learnedly discussed by Mr. King, in his first volume of Monumenla antiqua, that 1 should not have 
presumed to follow him, if fortune, in recompense for the superior abilities he possesses, had not 
bestowed upon me one advantage in which he is deficient ; my countrymen will probably anticipate 
the observation 1 am about to make. The knowledge of the Welsh language (which inclination as 
well as residence in the country has induced and enabled me to attain) is so absolutely necessary to 
a traveller among British antiquities, that without it he cannot take three steps without the risk of 
breaking his neck. The want of this knowledge has actually occasioned the fall of the learned writer 
I have just named, though he will rise 1 make no doubt of it, with little or no injury. This defect 
has precipitated him headlong in the beginning of his journey, from one of the highest hills in Eng- 
land. He proceeds to climb it with great caution ; looks to the right, then to the left, and after 
assigning various reasons why Malvern cannot be a Roman, a Danish, a Saxon, or a Norman en- 
trenchment, he concludes that it is a British fortress, and the retreat of Owen Glyndwr. In the 
latter conjecture, he is not supported by history or tradition ; in the inference preceding he may in 
some measure be correct, because this naturally strong hold may have frequently served for the pur- 
pose of defence ; hut if he had been conversant in the British tongue, he would have known that 
the principal and earliest use to which the summit of the hill was appropriated was the assemblage 
of the Druids, when they acted in the three-fold capacities of legislators, priests, and judges. Malvern. 
with very little alteration, is Moel y yarn : these words arc pure Welsh, and signify the high court 
or seat of judgment. 

'"The original British fortress was nothing more than an almost inaccessible or precipitous rock or 
natural wall. To these heights men were at first driven for safety from wolves and other wild beasts, 
when the country was thinly inhabited and the low-lands entirely covered with wood ; thither they 
retired at night for rest, and from thence they sallied forth in the day time in search of food. These 
therefore were not originally intended so much for defence against man, as against the brute creation, 
though they were afterwards used as stations, from whence they might more effectually annoy or 
with greater security resist the attacks of enemies of their own species. This most ancient and always 
natural British fortification, was called Dinas, — and here again, 1 am sorry to observe, King has been 
misled by a Welshman. Dinas (says he. upon the authority of Rowland in his Mi, nn Antiqua) is 
derived from dinesu, from men's associating together. There is no such word in the Welsh language 
as dinesu. Nesu. or as we write it in South Wales, nesau, is (it is true) to draw near or to approach ; 
but di-nesu, if the word could lie justified, instead of associating or bandying, or rather banding to- 
gether, would be to retire, to retreat, or (Unhand. Dinas is derived from the old Celtic word Pun, 
pronounced nearly like Deen in Knglish, and is frequently found in the names of places in Scotland ; 
it signifies a lofty fortification or strong hold. 

"When the Dinas became too small for the family, it was necessary thai part of them should 
seek for other Dinasoedd ; but as these impregnable rocks could not be everywhere met with, still 
preferring elevated situations, they settled upon the Bannau or summits of hills ; here however they 
were obliged to supply by their labour what nature had denied, as the approach to these situations 
was less difficult and consequently more liable to the incursions of an enemy, they found it prudent 
to protect themselves with high ditches, or ramparts of earth and stone. The inclosures within these 
intrenchments were called Caer or Gaer, in the plural Caerau or Gaerau, from the verb Can or Caued, 
to shut up, to inclose or surround with a fence, ditch or wall. For several centuries, the word Gaer 
has been most commonly applied to signify a military station or inclosure, but it is in many parts of 

1 Aiinal. Li I.. 12. cap. 8. 


Wales used synonymously with Cae, a field : thus in a humorous song attributed (I believe) to Lewis 
Morris, called Caniad Bugail Tregaron, or the song concerning the pastor of Tregaron : 

Ac wrth ei bwys v gryimai'r llawr, And the earth shook with his weight, 

Trwy Gaerau mawr Tregaron. A3 lie ran o'er the large inclosures of Tregaron. 

So also in Edward Richard's Bugeilgerdd or pastoral : 

Mae llawer un lliwus, er byw yn helbulus, Fall oft the peasant's cheek we view, 

Na pluoli hwyil Masus a melus i'r rain, (Tho' poor his fare) of roseate hue ; 

A'i fwthin di-foethau heb fel nag afalm. What tho' no dainties grace his board, 

Na chnai yn ei Oaerau nag eirin. Nor sloes or nuts his fields afford. 

Although no honey fills his hives, 
Nor near his cot the apple thrives ; 
Content supplies his scanty store 
With ruddy health ; nor seeks he more. 


" One of these Caerbannau 1 or hill entrenchments, is seen on an eminence now corruptly called 
Benni, about two miles North West of Brecon, and about half a mile South East of the confluence of 
the Eskir into the Usk. 

"The original name of this fortress must have been Cacrvan. 2 Near to this camp, but still 
nearer to the fall of the Eskir into the Usk, the Romans erected a station, which from the British 
Han, they called Bannio, 3 Castrinn Bannii, or Bonium ami Castrum Bonii. The genitive case of this 
Latinized British word produced the present name of Benni, by which the hill is now known ; at its 
foot is a village softened according to a rule continually occurring and well understood in Welsh, into 
Venni. the modern name for Abergavenny. 


' ' Bomium Nidus and Abone 4 (says Horsley in his essay upon the Chorographer of Ravenna) 

must, I fished 3 out of the two names Jupannia and Albinunno, if we find them at all. 

Isca and Bannio are doubtless Caerleon and Abergavenny, and Bannio put for Gobannio in the 
Itinerary.' Gently, gently, good sir! a little scepticism is allowable upon this occasion. The Roman 
dress has certainly made a wonderful alteration in the appearance of our Welsh ladies, and it must be 
admitted that those who have introduced them to us, have made them dance the hay in a very 
ridiculous manner : those however who have brought them up in the same school from infancy, may 
possibly be able to identify them even under their disguises, and may succeed (though with difficulty) 
in restoring them to their proper places, at least I trust the attempt will be considered as commend- 
able. Under Bannio. therefore, I recognize the features of Ban, Bannau, Benni and Venni, as I do 
also of Go-bannau, the lower or lesser Bannau or Venni in Gobannio, which has undergone a still 
further state of disfiguration in Jupannia, supposed to he Caerdiff, by Mr Baxter of happy conjecture, 

(as Mr Harris, 5 whether j isely or seriously, I protest 1 am not able to discover, most happily calls 

him). Baxter, indeed, has bestowed upon us so much learning, so much Greek, so much Latin, and so 
much knowledge of the religions and languages of the Armenians, and the Egyptians, and the 
Teutones, and the Samothracians, &c, &c. ; and above all. has introduced so many happy conjectures 
to demonstrate that Caer ar daaf 6 abbreviated into Caerdaaf and Cardiff, means Jupapannia (here the 
rogue has slily interpolated two letters to support his hypothesis) that I can scarcely prevail upon 
myself to attempt to deprive him of the benefits of his great labour, and I am only comforted with 
the recollection, that even if I fail, it is probable his Greek and Latin will be read when my ephemeral 
lucubrations, anil consequently the folly of this attack, will lie forgotten. In justice, however, to 
Richard of Cirencester and Stukely his commentator, 1 cannot help agreeing with them that Caerdiff 
was in all probability Tibia Amnis ; and to me it seems clear that Caerdydd 7 the main prop of 

1 When the Caerau increased, the Dinas was considered as Glamorganshire, in the last century; he appears to have been 
the metropolis, or residence of the tywysog, the general or leader a man of great learning and abilities, which we fear were not 
of the whole country; thus for several centuries afterwards, we find sufficiently rewarded. 

the courts of t lie princes of North and South Wales called i; Taaf-wy, Tawe and Teivi, from whence Tibia means the same 

Dinasoedd (though they were no longer rock fortresses) as thine, ;. 6 . the winding water: in Taaf. the word wy or water 

Dinas Aberffraw, Dinas Murthrafael, Dinas Pengwern and Dinas is .hopped, though it is preserved 111 some measure 111 both the 

fawr or Dinevor. other rivers; Thames is of the same family, with the addition of 

2 The v here is used to accommodate the eyes and ears of the sibillating Saxon s. The r or / and m are continually 
English readers, the modem way of writing the word is Caerfan, changing places, and are as it were equivocal 111 the old British, 
though Mr. Owen in his dictionary and other publications is This, by the assistance of a valuable and ingenious friend, will 
endeavouring to restore the v, which certainly was in use in the be more fully shown hereafter. 

13th century. " " Caerdyf Britannice, hodie Cacrdiidh vocatur sed corrupte," 

3 Anonymous Chorography of Ravenna. says the annotator on Giraldus Cambrensis's Itinerary, cap. 6. So 

4 Horsley's Brit. Rom. Lib. 3. Jupannia seems also to have been a corruption of Gobannau or 

5 He was a prebendary of Llandaff, and curate of Caerau, in Gobannio, Abergavenny. 


Baxter's conjecture, from whence he would wish us to believe it was Jupiter's town) is a corruption 
long subsequent to the time of the Romans. 


"But to return to Gaer near Brecon. Mr. Harris, 1 in a letter to the Society of Antiquarians, 
supposes this fortification to have hern the Magnis 2 of Antoninus (Magna of Richard of Cirencester). 
Horsley lias satisfactorily proved that there was no Roman station at Old Radnor, though the learned 
had agreed for some time that this was the scite of Magnis ; yet though this station is thus blown 
out of Radnorshire if the latter part of the 12th Iter of Antoninus, or the l.'ith of Richard of Ciren- 
cester, be correct, there is no more reason for placing Magnis at Gaer, than at Caerffili It is totally 
out of the line from Abergavenny to Wroxeter in Shropshire, and then Kentchester will be admitted 
to be as Horsley has suggested (notwithstanding Harris's assertion that it is universally allowed to be 
Ariconium) the lost fort Magnis. Harris's confirmations of his opinions (I say it with reluctance, but 
with great confidence) are extremely futile, and such as we should not have expected to have heard 
from him. He thinks, that because Gaer in two or three charters of Bernard Newmarch and Roger 
earl of Hereford to the monks of Brecon, is called vasta Civitas, it follows it must be the Civitas Magna. 
Bernard Newmarch, soon after his arrival in Brecknockshire, raxed Gaer, then called Caervong or 
Caervon, to the ground, and brought- the materials, or at least such as were worth carrying, to 

"The vastuni or vastatum Civitatem, mentioned in these charters, meant nothing more than the 
ruined or ruinated city, or site of a city, called Gaer. It is observable that in one of these, it is 
called Carneys, a corruption of Carnau, or heap of stones. 


"This removal of the materials of the city thus destroyed by Bernard to ' Aberhonddi,' is 
mentioned in an old MS. in the British Museum. 'Inasmuch (continues the MS.) 3 as he liked this 
place better for fortifications, because of the straits." In another MS. in the Bodleian Library, Oxon., 4 
it is called Caervona; vawr Brevi ; and in another in the Bodleian Library, it is written Caervong : the 
V thus retained in all these MSS. must lie rejected, as we have no such termination in the Welsh as 
ong. Here then we have the Caervon, or rather Caervan vawr, the greater or higher Bannau or 
Bannio in Brecknockshire, and following the course of the Usk downwards the next station but one, 
in the line of communication from thence to the head quarters of the second legion at Caerleon, is 
Gobannio, from the British Go-bannau, the lesser or lower Bannau or Bannio in Monmouthshire. 

" Having established as satisfactorily (1 trust) as the nature of this subject will admit, that Gaer 
near Brecknock is the site of the Bannio of the Romans, I proceed to follow their footsteps in that 
county ; but here I have to lament the want of correct information and the nearly total deficiency 
of authentic documents, to enable me to trace them. To Tacitus, principally, if not solely, we are 
indebted for the history of the events in Britain in the first century. Tyssilio's chronicle at the same 
time that it pretends to inform us of the transactions which passed long prior to this period, and to 
introduce to us such men in buckram, as 'Eneas Whiteshoulder, Brutus Greenshield, Belinus, Brennus, 
Androgeus and a cloud of kindred spirits, with their equally visionary queens and daughters, Ignoge, 
Kstrildis, Sabrina and Genuissa, very rarely condescends to give us even the names of the Roman 
generals; so that the historian of the present day can do little more than arrange the few facts he may 
be able to collect, and the produce of his labours can at last only be considered as a connected, but 
meagre table of chronology. 


"• Ostorius was succeeded by Aulus Didius, whose utmost exertions were directed not to retain the 
Silures in subjection, 5 but merely to restrain their incursions into that part of Britain which the 
Romans called their own provinces, so that South Wales seems at this period to have been almost, if 
not altogether evacuated by the enemy. Indeed we are told by Tacitus that not long after the partial 
conquest by Ostorius, the legionary camp master and cohorts who were left there to build forts, were 
completely surrounded by the Britons, and though the greatest part were rescued upon assistance being 
sent them, yet the camp master and eighty centurions were slain, the foragers also put to death, and 
in the continued skirmishes that occurred, the inhabitants from their knowledge of the country were 
generally successful. These barbarians, we are told, had a remarkable turn of thinking : the emperor 

i Axchseologia, vol. 2. p. 1. Leucarura, Bomium. Nidus, Isoa Legionum, Gob 

-' St. Agnes in Cornwall, savs Mr. Polwhele, in history of that Cornwall, 
county, vol. 1. p. 207. Though I presume to know some- 3 Harl. Coll. No. 6870. 

thing more of Roman ways than what I have acquired from my 4 Rawlinson. No. 1220. 

Camden, 1 am compleatly silenced when this historian places ■• Tacitus's Annals, Lib. 12. 


Claudius 1 had threatened them, that like the Sugambri or Sieambri (who were almost exterminated and 
the remainder of them carried into Caul) the name and memory of the Silures should not remain upon 
the earth. He had called to them, no doubt, by the mouth of his governors, propraetors and praetors, 
and had commanded them to come peaceably to Rome to be killed. Proclamation after proclamation 
most likely followed to the same effect : but such was their peculiar obstinacy (says Tacitus) praripua 
Silurum pervicacia, that they would not submit to have their throats cut quietly. This tenaciousness 
of life, which is observable in eels and some few animals not endowed with the faculty of rea°oning, 
may perhaps be excused in the uncivilised natives of South Wales. There are those, I am satisfied, 
who will not be surprised at their stubbornness on this occasion, or think them to blame in their 
determination, and their descendants may be permitted even to applaud their spirit, when they learn 
that soon after the death of Ostorius they defeated a legion, under the command of Manlius Valens ; 
so that the Romans were obliged to carry on a kind of defensive war with the British inhabitants for 
nine or ten years, until the arrival of Suetonius Paulinus. During this period the invaders were so un- 
comfortably situated that their historian Tacitus is compelled thus to acknowledge their fallen con 
dition : — 'Our veterans were slaughtered, our settlements burnt, and our armies surrounded; we then 
contended only for our lives : it was not till some time afterwards that we had any thoughts of making 


" It does not appear that Suetonius Paulinus ever entered South Wales ; his arms were directed 
against the Ordovices and the inhabitants of Anglesea. His victories there however had the effect of 
frightening the Silures into a temporary inactivity, with which his three successors, Petronius Turpil- 
ianus, 2 Trebellius Maximus and Vettius or Vectius Bolanus, seem to have been perfectly satisfied. 
Petilius Cerealis, who followed their sleeping governours, was a formidable enemy, but the Brigantes 
(the inhabitants of Yorkshire and some of the adjoining counties) found him ample employ, though he 
ultimately subdued them. After him came a truly great and able man, to whose talents and superior 
knowledge in the art of war, more than to his valour, or that of his troops, may be attributed the 
completion of the conquest, for which Ostorious had only cleared the road. 

" In what year of Christ Julius Frontinus came into Britain is not precisely ascertained ; his arrival 
may with tolerable accuracy be dated about the year 71 », as he was succeeded by Agricola in 78. He 
brought with him to Caerleon the second legion of Augustus, called Victrix, and from thence he com- 
menced his expedition into the interior of Wales : as to the particulars of his campaigns and the 
battles he fought, history is entirely silent ; all we learn is that he completely subdued the Silures. 


"To secure his conquest, and to establish a free intercourse and communication through the 
country, he repaired and rebuilt the forts erected by Ostorius, then in ruins, and caused the military 
road to be made, from him called the Julia Strata. 3 This road has been traced with much diligence, 
and I conceive with great accuracy, by Williams and Coxe, in their histories of Monmouthshire : the latter 
has given a map or sketch of its course from Bath to the Severn, from thence to the Caerwent, Caer- 
leon, Cardiff, Boverton, Neath, and Loughor, where he unaccountably makes it stop. Whereas I con- 
ceive, it proceeded Westward to Caermarthen, from thence it turned to the East up the Vale of Towy 
to Llys firychan in Llandoissant, the site of a station as T conjecture (for at present there are no 
remains of it, though several Roman coins were some years ago found here, which were sold to a 
watchmaker in Llywel, who melted them down), then to Tal y sarn, the head or highest part of the 
military way ; from thence it came down on the Southern side of the Usk to Hhyd y briw ; here it 
crossed the river, and near this place (as Mr. Strange observes in one of the volumes of the Arrhre- 
ologia, not now by me) it was perfectly visible some time back ; from hence it continued in the same 
direction to some ford near the site of the bridge at Aberbran ; here again it recrossecl the river Usk 
for the last time and proceeded to Caer. being intersected at this spot by what is now called Sarn 
Helen ; another Roman road leading from Neath to Chester. 

1 Annal. Lib. 14. attribute to a Briton a work evidently Roman. He supposes 

2 Tacitus, speaking of this man, (Annal. lib. 14.) says" Is non the Julia Strata to take its name from Saint Julian "a Saint 
irritato hoste neque lacessitus honestum pacis nomen segni otio (says ho) much known in that country ; " he is mistaken ; he is 

(Satisfied at n- >t being attacked by the- enemy, lie not much known in the country through which the greatest part 

refrained form hostilities on his side, and dignified a life of of the Julia Strata runs; and if it had been named from him, it 

la/mess and indolence with the honourable name of peace.) would have been called Strata Juliana, and not Julia. Cressy 

'■> It is difficult to conceive why Horsley in his essay on gives us a Julius who suffered martyrdom in the third century : 

Antonine's Itinerary, should wish to deprive Julius Frontinus of he was (says he) " a citizen of Caerleon." No person who has 

the credit of planning and constructing this road, so absolutely read the history either of England or Wales, ever dreamt of 

necessary to the preservation of his authority over a country attributing this road to Julius Caesar, as Horsley has inti- 

ha had aequued by the sword, or why lie should be desirous to mated. 


"From Gaer, the Strata Julia continued Eastward to Brecknock, passed across a street, since 
called from this circumstance the Slraet, a corruption of street or stratum : from thence it proceeded 
under and on the South side of an eminence known by the name of Slweh, to another at Llanham- 
lach, called Ty llltid. where there is a Cromlech, and formerly was an Rxploratorium or Arx specula? 
toria, as I conceive. From hence it ran in the same direction, above Scethrog House, under the hill 
called Allt yr yscrin, keeping in a higher line than the present turnpike road from Brecon to Aberga- 
venny, and ascending to the pass called Bwlch, which it crossed, and then pursued the course or track 
of the old Bwlch road, where the remains of it are still visible. Prom thence down into the vale of 
Cwmdu, by a house called the Gaer, where there was. I am firmly persuaded, a Roman station of vast 
extent, though not at present known to antiquarians, but of which a plan and description will here- 
after be given; from thence it passed to Tretower, to the ruinated chinch or chapel of Llanfair, near 
which we again meet with a mound, probably an Kxploratorium: from thence to Crickhowel, and so 
on in nearly a straight line to Abergavenny, from which station it followed the course of the river Usk, 
keeping the whole of the way on the North side to the towns of Dsk and Caerleon. At this latter 
place, the link united, and proceeded in one line to Caerwent and Bath. 


" As soon as the Romans had firmly seated themselves in Britannia Secunda, it is natural to suppose 
they would wish to establish several vicinal or cross roads between the two chains; accordingly we find 
one. running nearly North and South, from CaerdifE to Caerbannau. This road proceeds from CaerdiS 
to Caerphili, though its track thus far is not easily discerned, hut from the latter place, leaving Bedwas 
on the right, it proceeds in the same direction to Pont yr Ystrad. on a hiL r h ridge between the rivers 
Sirhowy and Rhymny and enters Breconshire at Brynoer, fifteen or sixteen miles from Caerphili; it is 
known to the inhabitants by the name of Sarn-hir, the long causeway. Its track during the whole 
or the greatest part of this distance is perfectly discernible, kirb stones occasionally appear on the 
sides; it is about ten feet wide, and whenever it crosses bogs, large flat stones have been laid down 
as a foundation for the superstrata of smaller gravel and earth. After entering Breconshire. it still 
retains the same direction along the Trevil ddu, or Tyr foel ddu. to Blancrawnon, Penrhiw-calch, down 
Glyncollwm, from thence to I.lanfrynach, where from' the discovery of some Roman baths, there seems 
to have been a Roman general's villa, or perhaps a campus aastivus. From thence it followed north- 
ward, crossed the Usk somewhere near Brecon and joined the other branch of the Julia Strata leading 
to Gaer. At Brynoer, about half way on this road from Cardiff to Brecon, Roman cinders are now 
frequently found." Where a blomery seems formerly to have been established, at. Llanfrynach, the iron 
was probably brought down to be manufactured; at this latter place, there is now a field called Closy 
Gefailion, or the smith's held, or the lield of the smiths' forges. 

" I am also strongly inclined to believe from the appearance of an antient road on Llwydlo fach, 
in the parish of Tyr yr abad in Breconshire, discovered a few years hack in digging turf, resembling 
in its materials and formation the works of the Romans, that another of their military ways connected 
Muridunum with the station of Cwm in Radnorshire. This stratum or sarn began, as I apprehend, 
at Carmarthen; proceeded from West to East on the north side of the Towy up to a farm now called 
Ystrad, to Llandovery and Llanvair-y-brin church, where some antiquarians are of opinion there was a 
station; from thence near Glanbran to Llwydlo fach, on which common its track is now visible, crossed 
the In on at Llancamddwr into Llangammareh ; passed Caerau, the site of an Arx speculatoria, hut 
not of a station as I conceive, though the contrary has been asserted by s c ,me authors, and they are 
in some measure justified in their conjecture by the name which this place still retains ; from thence it 
proceeded through the parishes of Llanafan fawr and Llanvihangel-bryn-pabuan, crossed the Wye some- 
where near the New bridge, entered Radnorshire and joined the Sarn Helen or Chester road at Cwm in 

"Mr. Harris observes very properly in his letter to the Antiquarian Society, that in order to curb 
more effectually the Silures, the Romans formed tiro chain* of garrisons (though in fact, as has been 
just mentioned, they are only a link in a line, as will he seen in the annexed ma])). Both, says he, 
began at Caerleon: one ran through the south part of the country, which lies near the Severn sea and 
the other north, along the river Usk : these last he explains to he Burrium, Gobannium, and as he con- 
jectures, Magnis, where he also halts ; hut without a doubt there must have been a communication 
between the upper Bannio or Caervan-vawr 1 am informed that upon the confines of Carmarthen- 
shire, westward of the river Saw due in the hamlet of Dyffrin Cydrich, and in the parish of Llangadock, 
there were formerly remains of another Roman station ; and it the load from thence forwara, in the 
same direction, could he traced, perhaps another could be found below Golden Grove. The town ol 
Trecastlehas a mound indeed of considerable height, which, if the Roman road ran here, on that side 
of the river might have been the site of a smaller tower of Ar.x speculatoria ; hut there are no remains 


of entrenchments or fortifications to induce us to suppose this place ever to have been a respectable 
military station, and T have reasons for believing this eminence was collected and thrown together 
after the time of the Romans. 


"At Gaer, near Brecon, as I have before observed, the Strata Julia was crossed by the Sarn 
Lleon or Via Helena, leading from Neath to Chester. This road, the tradition of the inhabitants 
attributes to Helen, the mother of Constantine ; it might with equal truth, be said to be the work of 
Helen of Troy. Our Helen (the daughter of old king Coel, or Coel Godebog), as the British historians 
call her, though there are considerable doubts as to her birth, parentage, and education, must have been 
a wonderful roadmaker indeed, if all those in Britain called Vise Helena 1 , are of her construction : she 
must certainly not only have been the first, but the most active surveyor general ever born in this 
kingdom. But Sarn Helen here, is only a corruption of Sarn Lleon or Sarn Lleon Gawr. When or 
where this hero of antiquity lived, I presume not to determine; the chronicles of Tyssilio says he was 
contemporary with Solomon king of Israel, and speaks thus briefly of him :* ' Bryttys Darianlas a drigiod 
gyda ei Dat, ac ev a wledychod wedy y Dat deng mlyned, ac ar ei ol y by Leon Gawr y vab ynte ; 
a gur da vy hwnnw y rwydhaws llywodraeth y Dyrnas ac adailiwys yn y part draw yr Gogled o ynis 
Brydain Dinas a elwir Caerlleon ar amser hwnnw ydoed Selyv ap Dafyd yn adailiat Temyl Iessu Grist 
yngharissalym.' (Brutus Greenshield remained with his father, and he governed the country ten years; 
after him followed his son Lleon, the mighty, and he was a good man, and a king who encouraged 
truth and justice. And this Lleon established and reformed the government of the kingdom, and built 
a city in the northern part of the island of Britain, called Caerleon. 2 by some said to be Carlisle, and 
at this time Solomon, the son of David, built the temple of Jesus Christ at Jerusalem.) 

"From a chieftain of the name of Lleon, Chester was called Caer-Lleon ; and from its leading to 
that city from Nidus or Nedd (now spelt Neath), this road was called by the Britons, Sarn Lleon, or 
the Chester road, which was Latinized into Strata Leona, afterwards corrupted into Strata or Via Helena, 
though I must take the liberty, with great deference to Owen, to believe that here and there a Via 
Helena may be a corruption of Sarn y Lluon, 3 an anomalous plural of Liu an army or multitude, 
which may be translated almost literally into English, by the military way or road. 

"At Neath, the Sarn Lleon is discernible on the marsh, on the north side of the river Neath, 
opposite to the castle, to which it evidently led ; from thence it proceeded east by north, and is dis- 
covered at Lletty'r Afel ; it then ascends a hill called Cefn-hir-fynidd and so to Gelly-ben-uchel, Banwen, 
and Ton y vildra, where it enters Brecknockshire, and its formation appears as perfect as when first 
made, excepting its slight coat of turf and grass. A little south eastward of Ton y vildra it crosses a 
brook called Nant-hir, pursues the same direction to Blan-nedd by Cefn-uchel-dref, leaving that farm 
and also the lime kilns at Carnau-gwynion in Ystradfellte to the south, keeps a course parallel with the 
road from Pontneathvaughan to Brecon for near a mile ; passes close by a stone of about nine feet 
high, called Maen Llia, and instead of proceeding as the present road floes to the head of that nearly 
precipitous diuge, called Cwmdu, it may be traced gradually descending on the south side of the river 
Senni and vale. From this place it is now no longer visible for a considerable distance, but it pro- 
bably passed above Blan-senni house, where the mclosures and the plough have completely effaced or 
concealed it, until we come near Blangwrthid, in the parish of Llanspyddid, where it is again seen. 
Near Blangwrthid is an artificial mound, on which formerly perhaps was an Exploratorium, though 
afterwards converted into a small fort or keep (according to the tradition of the country) by Maud 
de St. Valeri, wife of William de Breos. who lived in the reign of King John. Here we lose it, and 
we can only conjecture that it descended into the vale of Usk, near Bettws, or Penpont chapel, where 
it joined the Julia Strata and proceeded with it to Gaer ; from thence northward, I have not hitherto 
been able to trace it with accuracy, though I believe I observe here and there some remains of it. 

' ' Having given the general outline of the works and the track of the roads made by the Romans 
in Brecknockshire, little more can be said of them until I come to the parochial history of the county. 
when the lesser and more minute features will be described. The inhabitants of this part of the principality 

1 Myf. Arch. vol. 2. p. 124. the one case it will be Cash-urn Legionum magna, and in the 

2 Pennant, in his tour in Wales, (vol. 1. p. 111.) supposes other Castrum Legionum Principia. 

Caerlleon or Chester to mean the camp of the Legion, and calls :j It would be dangerous to refer the reader to Richard's 

it Cae'r lleon vawr ar Dvfrdwv, the camp of the great and dictionary, who says the plural of Lleng a Legion, is Lleon. 

twentieth legion of the Dee. Ih> is not aware thai Lleon, if it " 1' ■ plodding Richards (says that Cawr Goronwj Owen) Ins 

applies at all to Legion, must be plural ; but the city is called book will be of no service to the next compiler, or indeed to any 

Caerlleon gawr, and not. vawr, in all old English MSS. He shall, body else." (.'inn 1 '. Rruistcr, vo' . 2. p. 505. I humbly beg leave 

however, have his choice of Caerlleon vawr, or Caerlleon gawr ; in to acknowledge my obligations to him, and to admit his utility. 


either submitted quietly from henceforward to the yoke of their masters, or if any material 
events occurred during their stay in this country, the memorials of them have perished in the lapse o) 
ages. 1 

"About 150 years after the establishment of the Rinnans in Britain, the emperor Severus divided 
his territories there into two provinces, Britannia Prima and Britannia Secunda : the latter compre- 
hended the whole (it North and Smith Wales Constantine in about hall a century afterwards, again 
divided them into six provinces, distinguished by the names of Britannia Prima, Britannia Secunda, 
Flavia, Maxima. Valentia and Vespasiana, and a regular itinerary (the first perhaps of Britain) was 
drawn up by Lollius of the whole. 8 


"From several coins of Alectus, Carausius, Constantius and Constantine, having been found at 
a place called Carnau bach in Llanfrynach, in Breconshire, when 1 a Roman hath, and other works 
of that people wire discovered some years back, it should seem that the legions remained in that 
country during the reigns of those emperors, and until Maximus in the year 383 carried them to- 
gether with the flower of the British youth, into Gaul, never to return, leaving behind him a feeble 
and enervated race, accustomed to a life of inactivity and indolence, fondly attached to the luxuries 
introduced by their conquerors; corrupted by their vices, but possessing neither their virtues nor 
their valour, and totally incapable of protecting themselves against the attacks of an enemy: until 
from the repeated incursions of the Scots and Picts, and afterwards of their merciless foe the Saxons. 
they were once more compelled to learn the use of arms, and to habituate themselves to a life of 

"Thus far, I am indebted to the authors of Rome and the Empire for the information I have 
been enabled to collect. I am now obliged to have recourse to the MSS. of the Arwydd feirdd, or 
heralds of our country, and though this source of intelligence may be scanty, perhaps incorrect, and 
consequently not to be as implicitly relied upon as the authors I have hitherto quoted, they are 
intitled to considerable attention. They arc systematically arranged, cautiously selected and carefully 
preserved, by those parochial or provincial officers whose duty it was to record the exploits and 
pedigrees of our ancestors. Should it be necessary to add another argument, there is one still behind, 
which will justify my reference to them — thci/ are the onjij ilonniiiiit-: In be jinnx/ that treat of that 
part of the principality now called Brecknockshire. n In one of these MSS. we are informed, that 
about the latter end of the first century, and before the conclusion of those calamitous wars which 
terminated, as has been seen, so fatally to Sibirean liberty, there lived a king, or rather regulus of 
Brecknockshire (then called Garthmadryn), whose name was Gwraldeg, 4 and according to this account, 
Meurig or Marius, now governed Britain, as Brenhin Prydain oil, or monarch of the whole island. 
In his reign the territories of Albania or Scotland were invaded by a captain or leader who came 
from Egypt, though by birth a Grecian, of the name of Gedalus. This adventurer, with a chosen 
band of friends and accompanied by his wife Scota. possessed himself of that part of the country, 
from him since called Gadelway or Galloway. Among his attendants in this expedition, was a young 
man. named Teithall or Tathall, son of Annwn Ddu or Antoninus Niger. Tin- Teithall was remark- 
able for his amiable disposition and the suavity of his manners, and being introduced into the British 
Court, he had the good fortune to attract the notice of King Meurig. by whose interest he obtained 
in marriage Morvytha (Morfydd), only daughter and heiress of Gwraldeg, king or rather regulus of 
Garthmadryn. Unfortunately for the credit of this legend, there is a trifling anachronism in the talc, 
which will send captain Gadelus, his lady and their followers, into the company of (Eneas White- 
shoulder. Brutus Greenshield and the other doubtful heroes of antiquity; for whose acquaintance, we 
arc indebted to Tyssilio or Geoffrey of .Monmouth. Gadelus, as some old Scottish authors tell us, 
married Scota, a daughter of Pharaoh Cenchres, king of Egyyt, and made himself master of that 
part of Great Britain, in honour of his consort called Scotland."' Now this conquest of Scotland 
by Gathelus or Gadelus (which by the by has long since been exploded by the more learned and 
respectable historians of thai nation) is supposed to have taken place at a period very little sub- 
sequent to the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt; whereas Meurig. king of Britain, in whose 
time Gwraldeg is said to have lived, did not begin his reign till the year 7"2 of the Christian era. 

1 The loss of a volume by Animiamis Mareellinus, which it is Mus. -MS. lilns. ditto. .MS. 2289, ditto. 

said, contained a history of tl ;curences in Britain during part 4 For his descendants continued by a female who married 

of the time the Romans remained there, i-. particularly t.i b< 

- Whit. hist, of Manchester, vol. 1. 

s MS. Rawl. 1220. Bodl. Lib. .MS. Had. Coll. 6870, Brit 


.ehan Brvi 

■heiniog hereaftei 

• mentis 

.nod. see Appendix 


. V. 

> Fordun's 1 

listorv of Scotland 

. lib. 1. 

cap. s. Maj<-r do Great, 


■ t. lib. 1. f. 

,lio 17. Girald. Ca 



Be this as it may. and whether Teithall was of Greek, Roman or British origin, the MSS. inform us 
that by this marriage he had issue Teithin or Tydheirn, who succeeded his father in the government 
of Garthmadryn, and left issue, as some say, Trith y blawd, who was followed by his son, Teidfallt 
or Teithphaltim, though others omit this Irith the mealrmn. 

■■Teidfallt or Teithphaltim is reported to have encroached upon his neighbours, and to have 
been the first who assumed the title of king of Garthmadryn. Hugh Thomas 1 supposes this to have 
been effected by his joining forces with the Irish, Picts and Scots, in their invasions of South Wales. 
If so, this places him, and consequently his ancestor, Gwraldeg, much later than he is stated to be 
in this MS., as the incursions of the barbarians did not take place until nearly the period when the 
Romans were about to quit Britain ; probably therefore, this prince lived in the time of the com- 
motions mentioned by Julius Firmicus, which' brought the emperor Constans into Britain 2 in the 
middle of a tempestuous winter ; the particulars of which (says Echard) 3 are recorded in that 
volume of Ammianus Marcellinus which is now unfortunately missing. Indeed it is highly probably 
that Hugh Thomas and those MSS. which place Gwraldeg in the year 230, are correct, as the seven 
persons here named, can hardly be supposed to have lived so long as from the middle of the first 
to the beginning of the fifth century. 

"Teidfallt 4 was succeded by his son Tewdrig, 5 Tydyr or Tudor. According to the computa- 
tion of Hugh Thomas, he was contemporary with the emperor Valentinian, and acted in conjunction 
with the Picts, Saxons, Scots and Attacotti. The continual squabbles for empire, the licentiousness 
and turbulence of the Roman soldiers and the wars with the Germans, the Alemanni and other 
inhabitants of the Continent, fully employed the attention of the Roman emperors and generals at 
this time, and though we do not know that any resolution had yet been formed of quitting Britain, 
their possessions here were now only considered as a secondary object. The consternation, however, 
which these, barbarians had spread throughout the provinces by their savage, and ferocious acts of 
cruelty, not only along the coasts, but in the interior of the island, at last compelled the emperor to 
send his general Theodosius to expel the enemy, and to reduce the rebellious natives to obedience. 
It is supposed, says Thomas, that upon the restoration of peace by that officer, the votive Altar 
found at Gaer or Caerfan, and removed to the priory of Brecon some years back, was erected. 

"Tewdrig had issue only one daughter, whose name was Marchell or Marcella, 6 who married 
Aulach, Anllech, Afalach or Olave, said to have been a son of Corineog, king of the Brigantes or 
Britains of Dublin, though he was most probably of that part of Ireland now called Wexford. This 
Corineog, in a MS. in the library of Jesus College. Oxford, written about 500 years ago and quoted 
by Hugh Thomas, is called Cormac mac Eurbre Gwyddel ; of his son's marriage with the heiress of 
Garthmadryn, we have a strange tale or legend in Latin in the Cottonian library, entitled " Cognacio 
Brychan hide Brechenawc dicta est, pars Demetise in S. Wallia." It is as follows: 7 


"Tewdrig, king of Garthmadryn, with his captains and elders, and all his family, removed to 
Bryncoyn 8 near Lanmaes. This Tewdrig had an only daughter, whose name was Marchell, whom 
he thus addressed, ' I am very uneasy least your health should suffer from the pestilential disorder 
which at present ravages our 'country* (now Marchell had a girdle made of a certain skin, to which 
popular opinion attributed such a virtue, that whoever girded their loins with it, would be safe from 
any pestilential infection). Go therefore, my daughter (says he) to Ireland and God grant you may 
arrive there in safety. Her father then appointed her 300 men and twelve honourable maids, to 
wait upon her and conduct her thither. On the first night they reached Llansemin. 9 where one 
hundred of her attendants died (whether from cold or pestilence is not asserted, though the English 

1 Hugh Thomas was deputy herald to Sir Henrv St. George, Tydor ap Neubedd, lord of Brecknock, lived at Crwccas, near 
Garter, principal king at arms in the year 1703 : he" was son to a Brecon, and that he was a benefactor to the church of Llandaff ; 
Mr. William Thomas, a salesman and 'a citizen of London, of the but 1 am inclined to think that the Tydor or Tydyr, who gave 
family of Thomas of Llanvrynach, in Breconshire ; lie was by Merthyr Tewdrig. now called Mathern, to the see or rather the 
profession an arms painter ; fond of antiquities, he made roller- church of Llandaff. was this Tydyr ap Teithwalch. although 
dons for a history of Brecknockshire, of which a quarto MS. Llewellyn Offeiriad's MS. makes him live too early for the 
intitled " An essav t. .wards the history and antiquities of episcopacy of Oudoeeus. Williams in his history of Monmouth- 
Brecknoek," is preserved in the Bodleian library: he left his shire, calls him Tewderic ap Teithwalch, and says he was a prmce 
MSS. number 'Jl'ss and l'l'S'.i, t.. the Karl of Oxford, but las of Gwent, and the first who built a church at Llandaff, page 75. 
lordship very liberally paid for them to his brother, who was « MS. 2289, Harl. Col. 

very poor; they are now in the Harleian collection, hound up in " Appendix, No. VI. 

volumes, but. not arranged; he died without issue, in 1711. 8 There is a field near Llanfaes being part of Newton farm, 

2 A. D. 543. which is called Bryn Gwin, on this field were formerly heaps of 

3 Echard's Roman hist. vol. 3. p. 9. stone and vestiges of buildings. 

* A. LI. 304. ° Perhaps Llansevin in Llangadock, Caermarthenshire. 

5 A MS. in the British Musseum, No. 0870, informs us that 


legend asserts it was from extreme cold). On the morrow, anxious and alarmed at this melancholy 
event, she arose and proceeded on her journey, and arrived the same night at Madrum, 1 where as 
at the former place, she lost one hundred men. On the following morning she rose very early, and 
the third night brought them to Porthmawr 2 ; from whence, with tier surviving hundred men and 
maidens, she passed over to Ireland. Upon the news of her arrival, Aulach, the son of Gormac, the 
king of the country, met her with a most princely train, and tin cause of her coming being explained 
to him he was so smitten with her beauty and pleased with her high rank (for she was the daughter 
of a king), that he fell in love with and married her : making at the same time a solemn vow, that 
if she produced him a son, he would return with her to Britain. Aulach then made honourable 
provision for her twelve maidens, giving each of them away in marriage. In process of time, Marchell 
conceived and brought forth a son, whom his father named Brychan : and when Brychan had com- 
pleted his second year, his parents took him to Britain, and they resided at Benni. The English 
legend relates the same story, with some little difference and additions : for after informing us of the 
journey of Marchell into Ireland and her marriage there, it proceeds, ' and .Marchell brought forth a 
son and called him Brychan, and Aulach with his queen and son, and the captains following, viz., 
Karmol, Fernagh, 3 Ensermach, Lithlimich, &c, came to Britain. Brychan was born at Benni and 
was placed under the care of Drychan, whom some call Briehan and others Brynach, and this Drychan 
brought up Brychan ; thence Brychan was brought to Brecheiniog, when he was four years old. And 
in the seventh year, Drychan said to Brychan. bring my cane to me ; and Drychan was dim in his 
latter years, and while he lay waking, a boar came out of the woods and stood on the banks of 
the river Yschir, 4 and there was a stag behind him in the river, and there was a fish that bellied 
the stag (i.e. was under the belly of the stag), which portended that Brychan should be happy in 
plenty of wealth. Likewise, there was a beech which stood on the banks of the said river, wherein 
the bees made honey, and Drychan said to his foster son Brychan, ' Behold this tree of bees and 
honey I will give thee also full of gold and silver, and may the grace of God remain with thee here 
and hereafter.' And afterwards Aulac gave his son Brychan as an hostage to the king of Powis ; 
and in progress of time, Brychan lay with the daughter of Benadell, and she brought him a son 
named Cynog, who being carried to the tents was baptised; when Brychan taking the bracelet from 
his arm, gave it to his son Cynog. This Cynog is famous in his country, and the bracelet is still 
preserved as a curious relick.' 


"The plain English of these tales, as far as it can be made out, seems to be, that this princess 
and her countrymen to avoid a famine or some contagious disorder, were driven into Ireland, where 
she married and afterwards returned with her husband to her native land, when the scarcity was 
over or the disorder had ceased. The arms given by the British heralds to Marchell were, Or, three 
bats, or (as they call them, rere-micc) azure, beaked and clawed gules: perhaps these ill boding har- 
bingers of darkness were adopted in commemoration of the gloomy pestilence which then raged in the 
country, and their beaks and claws were represented red, to denote the bloody characters which 
marked its track. These arms, quarterly, second and third, with those of Brychan, viz., sable, a fess, 
Or, between two swords in pale, points up and down, argent, pommeled and hiked of the second, 
are now those of the county of Brecon : they are borne by the Gwynnes of Glanbran in Caermarthen- 
shire, and Garth and Buckland in Breconshire, as well as by several other descendants of this Aulach 
and .Marchell. 

" In this succession of reguli. I have hitherto followed the MS. of Hugh Thomas, which is con- 
firmed by several others; but (ieorgc Owen Harry 5 in his book of pedigrees, intitled, 'The well- 
spring of true nobilitie,' differs in toto from the line chalked out by them; he takes no notice what- 
ever of Gwraldeg and his race, nor docs he even mention the territory of Garthmadryn. But after 
a long catalogue of the princes of Glamorgan, he comes at length to Niniaw, who had issue Teith- 
walch. who had issue Tewdrig the father of Meurig prince of Glamorgan, and Marchell, the mother 
of Brychan. sirnamed Brecheiniog: this, if true, would lead us to conclude, that ( Jarthmadryn, instead 
of being an independent state, as elsewhere represented, was nothing more than a cantred of Mor- 
ganwg or Glamorgan, and now first separated as a marriage portion with Marchell, whose son exercised 
;i regal power of changing the name to Brecheiniog; but this account is intitled to little credit or 

1 Meidxira in Caermarthenshire. in the county of Pembroke, and lived m the r.-nin of James the 

- Porthmawr, a Haven near St. David's. fir-t. The Truman \IS. hereafter often referred to, agrees with 

3 Three Miles Westward of Brecknock i< a hill called Mynidd George Owen Harrs m deriving Tewdrig, then called Tewdrig 
Ffernaeh. Vendiged. or the blessed king of Glamorgan, Gwent and Garth- 

4 Escir or Yscyr. madryn. from Teithall ap Teithrin ap Niniaw, etc. 

5 George Owen Harry was rector of Whitchurch in Kemeys, 


attention, opposed as it is by six or seven pedigrees of different ages and by different writers. 
Especially when the manners, as well as the language of the two provinces (as has before been 
observed) have always varied, and marked them as distinct tribes. 

"This disagreement between the genealogists may perhaps be accounted for, when we recollect 
that Teidfallt, Teithphaltim or Teithwalch, is said to have been a troublesome restless chieftain, and 
to have encroached upon his neighbour's territories ; he may therefore have dispossessed the regulus 
of Glamorganshire, and George Owen Harry, or rather the herald whom he follows, finding him in 
the list of princes of that country, may have considered him as the son of Niniaw, his predecessor 
in the MS. But the majority of writers is so evidently and indisputably in favour of the descent 
from Gwraldeg, that I cannot consent to give him up, even though the Glamorganshire family would 
connect prince Brychan with the hero of Troy and the long race of British kings supposed to spring 
from him." 

To tho foregoing observations of Theophilus Jones we make the following additions. 


Little is known of Britain before the days of the Roman invasion. Traders had sailed through 
the Straits of Gibraltar, through the Pillars of Hercules, and in the ocean that flows round the earth 
had discovered two Bretannic islands, Albion and lerne. The greater portion of Albion level and 
woody ; the produce corn and cattle, gold, silver, iron, and tin ; skins, too, and slaves ; also dogs 
sagacious in hunting ; the men taller than the Celtic, and their hair less yellow ; their manners simple ; 
though possessing plenty of milk they made no cheese, nor were they acquainted with husbandry. 
Forests were their cities : having enclosed a space with felled trees they made themselves huts and 
there lodged their cattle, but not for any long continuance. 

Had the, author's informant penetrated so far as tho tribes of the Silures. inhabitants of what is 
now Brecknock and the surrounding counties, he would have found a different class of city. The 
Dinas, or primeval fortress of the Silures, is in every case within the county of Brecknock, a walled 
inclosure on the top of a hill, its size limited only by the extent of the summit, surrounded by a dry 
wall for the purpose of defence, a diagonal wall sometimes leading down the hill perhaps to provide 
a covered way to obtain water ; indications of a gate with exterior defences ; the exterior often pitted 
with shallow excavations some three feet deep, probably roofed once with branches of trees and 
forming the dwelling place of our rude ancestors — a place of protection for the aged, the women, and 
the children, a haven for cattle against the marauder, and a rallying point for the warrior, 

The County of Brecon is studded with many such dinasoedd, no longer clearly distinguishable, 
one of the many mysteries of the prehistoric past — each Dinas, doubtless, crowded with wonder- 
stricken warriors and terrified women, when the civilised legions of Rome marched into the woodland 
valleys of Siluria. 

THE ROMAN TERIOD : B.C. 55 — A.D. 441. 

The Roman Empire had spread itself over the known world : its armies, under their victorious 
General Julius Caesar, had subdued the natives of Gaul, and had advanced to the southern shores of 
the British Channel. The Britains, having sent supplies to the Gauls, Cajsar resolved upon the 
conquest of the British Isles. Accordingly he landed in Britain on tho 26th August in the 55th 
year before Christ : a month later, having lost many ships in the storm, he returned to Gaul. In 
May of the following year he made a second expedition. The people of the country now called Essex, 
Middlesex, and Kent, yielded to the Roman invasion. Ca?sar, however, shortly returned to Gaul, and 
never again visited Britain. 

Nearly a century passed before any further attempt was made at conquest. Christ was born, 
and had suffered, and a new era had arisen. The Emperors Augustus and Tiberius had reigned at 
Rome. The conquest of Britain, ever and anon, floated before the eyes of the Romans as a brilliant 
legacy bequeathed by their greatest citizen, but it was not till the 43rd year of the Christian era 
that the Emperor Claudius despatched Aulus Plautius in command of the third expedition. The 
occupation of the Island was unattended with difficulty. The natives, though possessed of bodily 
strength and bravery, were no match for the. disciplined troops of the invader, and when the General 
left, after a few years' sojourn, the level country of England had been subdued by the victorious 


The Welsh still gave trouble. In Cornwall the old nationality maintained itself, while the Silures, 
inhabiting South Wales, and their northern neighbours, continued to doty the invaders. As, during 
the Gallic wars, the Island of Britain had, while unoccupied, been a thorn in the side of the Roman 
Generals, an unapproachable base, from which war could bo waged, and stores obtained, and in which 
the discontented and the deserter could find a refuge, so now a similar position was held by the 
mountains of Wales and the distant island of Anglesey, 

To protect the country already conquered, Ostorius Scapula, who succeeded Plautius, marched 
immediately on his arrival against the people of South Wales, defeating them and their King 
Caractacus, whose wife and daughter were taken prisoners ; while he, having fled northward to the 
Brigantes, was by them surrendered to the enemy and sent as a captive to Rome. 

A series of fortified stations were now established between England and Wales. A camp for the 
Fourth Legion at Wroxeter in the neighbourhood of Shrewsbury ; one further north at Chester for 
the Twentieth Legion, and a third for the Second Legion at Venta Silurum, afterwards called Caer-lleon 
(the camp of the legion). On the camp at Caerlleon the wild Silures poured ; and but for speedy 
reinforcements would have cut the garrison to pieces ; as it was the Prefect and eight Centurions 
were slain, though ultimately victory declared itself for the Romans. Henceforward there were frequent 
encounters and skirmishes, with plundering parties, in the woods and marshes. Of all the native 
tribes the Silures were the most determined ; they cut off auxiliary cohorts as they were ravaging the 
country without due circumspection, and by distributing the spoil amongst the neighbouring nations 
drew them also into revolt. 

At this period died the Roman General Ostorius, wearied by the obstinacy of the contest. The 
Roman Emperor, apprised of the death of his lieutenant, replaced him with Aulus Didius. In the 
meantime the legion commanded by Manlius Valens had sustained a defeat at the hands of the 
Silures, who were making incursions on the occupied country. Didius at once set upon them and 
repulsed them. A stone at Tretower, built into the north gateway of Tretower House, and inscribed 
with the name Valens, seems to indicate that Brecknock was within the limits of the theatre of war, 
and possibly that the Roman camp at Gaer, Cwmdu, was then in existence. Didius was a man 
advanced in years ; he contented himself with allowing his lieutenants to keep the Britons in check, 
and did no more than retain former conquests. 

His successor Veranius ravaged the country of the Silures, but shortly died. The time of the 
next Governor, Suetonius Paulinus, was occupied in an attack on Anglesey, and afterwards repelling a 
revolt of the Iceni, whose vigorous onslaught, under the Queen Boadicea, imperilled the very existence 
of the Romans. There is no record that Suetonius, or his successor, Petonius Turphilianus. ever 
entered Wales, though it has been suggested that the monumental stone at Crickhowell, to "the 
two sons of Turpil," might refer to the General In the opinion of Professor Westwood it is of later 

In the year A.D. 70, or a little later, Julius Frontinus became Propraetor in Britain. To him are 
ascribed the military roads of South Wales. The effect of a better organisation was at once apparent. 
The Silures yielded to Roman arms, the tide of warfare receded from South Wales, and from that 
time forward Scotland and the North seem to have exclusively occupied the forces of the invaders. 


For the military occupation of a country, roads have been in all ages a first necessity. The 
English in the 19th century have advanced the railway to the north-west frontier of India, are 
pushing an iron road northward from South Africa through the land of the Zulu, while from the 
north the railhead on the bank of the Nile is carried forward immediately in the rear of victorious 
forces in the Soudan. So the Romans, more than IS centuries ago, joined their posts of Dover and 
Richborough in Kent, with London, then, as now, the most important city of Britain. Out of the 
15 roads mentioned by Antonine, London is the starting place of seven : of these only three are of 
importance to our present purpose. 

The route (numbered two) started from the Great Wall reaching from Tynemouth to Solway Firth 
across the island, separated the limit of the Roman Empire from the northern barbarian, whence the 
road led southward and eastward to London and Richborough on the coast of Kent. The road was 
the direct route from Londinium (London) to Uriconium (Wroxeter) and thence northward to Deva 
(Chester), marked in the Itinerary as the headquarters of the 20th Legion. It was thus the highway to 


North Wales, and as the invading army passed freely from North to South Wales, this road became 
an important item in the fortunes of our county — Uriconium (Wroxeter) being the point at which 
the various roads joined. 

Another road (numbered seven) led from Regnum (Chichester) past the haven of Portsmouth and 
Southampton to Calleva (Reading) and London. The last two stages on the route, from Llandinium 
(London) to Pontibus (supposed to be Windsor, 22 miles, and thence the same distance on to Calleva 
of the Attrebates, a tribe then inhabiting Berkshire. Calleva is believed to be Reading. The miles 
given in Antonine's Itinerary have been useful in enabling critics to fix the places to which ancient 
names refer. They are generally correct, but at times vary, sometimes giving too great a length, 
apparently by the clerical omission of a figure, CIX written for CXIX, and perhaps sometimes on 
account of wood and river making a necessity for detour. 

From Reading (Calleva) South Wales was approached by two routes, one through Durocornovium 
(Cirencester) and Glevum (Gloucester), Ariconium (Ross), Blestium (Monmouth), to Burrio (Usk). This 
being the nearest point to Brecknock, let us leave the route — though it proceeds to Isca Caerlleon 
where it joins the next route. We now trace the second road from London by Reading to South 

Following the last mentioned road for 17 miles from Reading to Speen, the road now passes to 
Aquae Solis (Bath). The name " Waters of the Sun " indicating that the medicinal property of the 
waters was known to the Romans. From Aqua? Solis to Trajectus (Bristol), thence to Abone, a place 
conjectured to have been on the Severn, somewhere, perhaps, where the New Passage or the Severn 
Tunnel are now. Thence crossing the river Severn the road approached Venta Silurum (Caer-went), 
Gwent being the ancient name of Monmouthshire ; Caer-gwent, the camp of Gwent, may have been 
in days long past, a place of import. The road ends at Isca (Caerleon) Caerleon, or in Latin Caslra 
legionis, being the headquarters of the Second Legion. 

The road from London to the nearest points to Brecknock end here ; the route along the south 
coast of Wales was continued to Muridunum (Car-marthen). For our purpose it will be convenient to 
proceed at once to Carmarthen, tracing the road towards the county of Brecknock. Leaving Mauri- 
dunum. in which word we vaguely see the name Marthen. helping historians, mayhap, to the antiquity 
of the name, the road ran eastward through Lhicarnum (Lwghor) to Nidum (Neath), thence through 
Bovium to Isca (Caerleon) at which point the road joins those from London by Gloucester and 
Bristol, already traced. Over these roads the traveller now passes to Barrium (Usk), where he turns, 
passing northward to Gobannium (Aber-gavenny) and thence to Magni (Kenchester), Bravinium (per- 
haps Brandon, Brampton, or Leintwardine), and so to Uriconium (Wroxeter in Salop). Wroxeter is 
said to have been Wrekencester (the camp of the Wrekin). This road must have been of great im- 
portance in Roman-British history, connecting the road from London to South Wales with that which 
united the Metropolis (Iter. II.) with Chester and the North to the Principality. Note particularly on 
it the following places: Muridunum (Carmarthen), Nidum (Neath), a point not mentioned now, Cardiff 
(Caer Taff, the camp of the Taff), and Gobannium (Abergavenny). From these points start the local 
roads connecting with the great thoroughfares the military stations in the county of Brecknock. 

The Roman roads are supposed to have followed ancient British trackways. To the moderns it 
may be interesting to note how nearly they have in turn been followed by the railways of the 10th 

The 13th road of the Romans is represented by the route of the Great Western Railway from 
London to Gloucester and South Wales; the 12th road is its continuation along the coast of South 
Wales to Carnarvon. The 14th route, which in the original is called alium iter, an alternative road, 
passes through Bath and Bristol to the south shore of the Bristol Channel, whence the Roman sought 
the coast of Wales by labour of the oar, and we of modern times rush under the waves of the 
Severn through the tunnel framed by engineering skill. 

In tracing the mam roads there has been followed Antonine's Itinerary. The work of an un- 
known Roman and written at a date also unknown, it was either originally written in the fourth 
century, or brought clown to that date in a subsequent edition. The local roads, now to be shortly 
described, can still be here and there recognised, have been marked where visible on the Ordnance 
maps, and have been mentioned more or less correctly in the works of several recent historians. 

Amongst the most important of vicinal roads is one starting presumably from Carmarthen (Muri- 
dunum) following the Teivy river to Llandilo, whence it is shown in the Ordnance maps following the 


present road from Swansea to Llandovery to the Roman town of Loventium, now Pontllaino, north 
of Llandovery, from which place it runs still northward through North Wales. At or near Llandovery 
it was joined by a second road, the most important from our point of view of all the Roman roads, 
via Julia Montana, running East and West through the whole length of the Vale of Usk from its 
source past Brecon to Abergavenny. Passing a camp at a height of over 1,400 feet above the sea 
the road can be traced across the Trecastle mountain. Passing the castle it keeps north of the Usk, 
crossing the river at Senny Bridge; the south, bank is then followed, though the river must have been 
crossed once more to reach the Gaer camp at Venny fach. the most important station in Brecknock, 
commanding the road east and west, and another to be hereafter described from Caraiff to the 
north. From Gaer the road can be traced to Brecon, where, a street still called Struet (Stratum), 
preserves the memory of the ancient Roman stratum. 1 J£l)iy 1 *?*'£ 

From Brecon the road continues Eastward South of the Slwch camp, passing the hill known as the 
Allt at a higher level than the present road. It follows the top of the ridge to Bwlch and down 
the hill to the Roman camp at Gaer in Cwmdu ; beyond this point no traces have been identified, 
but there can be but little doubt that it passed by the village of Tretower, and so by Crickhowell 
to Abergavenny. At Abergavenny (Gobannium) it joined the road (Iter. XII) already described, con- 
necting that place with Uriconium (Wroxeter) on the north and southward with the coast of the 
Bristol Channel and the roads leading thence to London. Road XII bears the name Waiting Street. 

A road appears amongst the mountains of the Beacon range. This ran from Cardiff over the 
Gelligaer Common and past the modern town of Merthyr, following the course of the river Taff until 
the road bifurcates on the Taff Fechan at a point immediately south of Point Twyn reservior called 
Dol-y-gaer (the meadow of the camp). The western road can still be traced following the Taff Fechan 
in a north-westerly direction : it may possibly have passed to the west of the Beacon down the 
Tarrell brook to Caer Bannau, though I know not whether its course has there been traced. Crossing 
Glyn Collwyn above and to the east of the Brecon ana Merthyr Railway it keeps the top of the hill, 
finally descending to Talybont. It probably joined the road through the centre of the Vale of Usk, 
though at what point remains a matter of uncertainty. 

The last road to be described is the Sam Helen, corrupted from Sarn Lleon, the road of the 
Legion, possibly so named because Chester, Caer Lleon — Castra legionis, the camp of the Legion — was 
one of its termini. Irom Neath the road leads along the ridge of Hir Fynydd, "the long mountain," 
a mile or more to the east of the Brecon and Neath Railway. Passing a camp marked on the 
Ordnance Map it enters Brecknock at Ton y ffildre, crosses the valley of the Nedd, and crosses into 
that of the Llia ; by its side is a stone, Maen Madoc, 1,373 feet above the sea. The road still ascends, 
more than fourteen hundred feet above the sea ; and then descends the northern slope of the moun- 
tain It is lost after passing Blaen Senny, to reappear for a short distance at Blaengurthyd, some- 
what over a mile south of Penpont. After passing the Gaer the route leads to Brecon, and can thence 
be traced northward up the Vale of Honddu. A mile above Lower Chapel it leaves the modern road 
to Builth, and ascends the mountain to the east of Merthyr Cynog. taking the ridge between that 
parish and Gwenddwr. It rejoins the present road to Builth at the top of the hill before the wayside 
public house at Cwm awen is reached ; it then follows the west bank of the Dihonw to Maesmynis. 
from which point it probably proceeded to Builth, where the Wye would be crossed. A Roman road 
and station have been found a few miles North at Llanyre in Radnorshire, whence the route passes 
in all probability still to the north. 

The Roman roads which concern Brecknock have now been traced with such accuracy as is in 
our power. Two routes from London via Gloucester and Bristol to South Wales ; one from Car- 
marthen through the Vale of Usk to Abergavenny ; one from Neath via Brecon to Chester ; a road 
connecting Chester and Wroxeter with London (the highway to North Wales) ; and a shorter route 
from Cardiff to the Carmarthen and Abergavenny route between Brecon and Bwlch. From some 
remains of an old road discovered in the 18th century on the mountain at Llandulas, Theophilus 
Jones considers that there may have been another Roman road down the Vale of Irfon : more careful 
mapping since that day has led to no further discovery in this direction, though it has enabled us 
in the above sketch to trace the Sarn Lleon much further than he 


Roman military camps were arranged according to a definite plan, modified only by the number-; 
for whom accommodation had to be provided. A camp intended to accommodate a consular army 



of two legions, each consisting of 4,200 infantry and 300 cavalry, with its contingent of camp followers, 
amounting in all to 18,600 men, formed a square each side of which extended in length 2,017 Roman 
feet. It may be roughly outlined thus : — 

Porta Pk-etokia 
I I 


] L 

Porta decumania 

P. — Przetorium (General's tent). 
p. — Forum (Market place). 
Principia. — (Principal street). 
Intervallum (Between rampart and camp). 
Gates. — Porta Pretoria (General's gate). 

Porta Principales dextra (the right principal street). 
,, ,, sinistra (the left). 

Q. — Qua-storium (or paymaster's tent). 

This square was divided into two unequal portions by a straight road called the Principia, or 
principal street, one hundred feet in breadth, having at its two extremities camp gates called the 
right and left gates of the principia. On one side of the principia, half way between the gates, 
stood the pretorium or general's tent, so situated as to have a commanding view in every direction. 
To the right and left were the forum (F) or market place, and the Quastorium (Q) or paymaster's 
tent. Further to the right and the left were the guards of the general and paymaster. Along the 
upper side of the principia street stood the tents of the twelve tribunes of the legions opposite the 
troops under their command. On the other side of the principal street was encamped the main body 
of the army. This part of the camp was intersected by a street fifty feet in breadth. Ten thousand 
square feet contained a squadron of thirty men and horses ; the same area accommodated a company 
of infantry, sixty men. 

Between the tent and the outer wall was an intervallum, let us say an "interval," or space two 
hundred feet broad, by which ample room was given for the passage of the legions in and out. The 
camp was provided with four gates. The fortifications consisted of a ditch nine feet deep and twelve 
feet wide, the earth from which, thrown to the inside, formed a rampart, on the summit of which 
were fixed stout wooden stakes. 

In countries, such as Wales, wild and barbarous, where the native tribes were hostile, armies of 
occupation were forced to remain constantly in camps. They usually occupied different grounds in 
summer and winter. The camp at Caerbannau, near Brecon, forms a rectangular space, the sides 
measuring respectively 624 and 426 feet, is about one -twelfth the size of the camp above described, 
and indicates a garrison of perhaps 1,500 men. Bricks have been discovered here, stamped with the 
names of the Second Legion. 


The " Justum Iter," or fair day's match of a Roman soldier, was twenty Roman, equivalent to 
nearly 18J English miles. Roman armies never halted for a single night without forming a regular 
entrenchment, capable of receiving within its limits the whole body of righting men, their beasts of 
burden, and baggage. So completely was this recognised as part of the ordinary duties of each 

march, that prevenire ad locum tertus guartis castris " (Livy XXVII, 3.) — to come to the 

place for the third or fourth camp is the established phrase for tht number of days occupying in 
passing from ont point to another. The camping ground was carefully chosen, a spot giving sufficient 
space to lay the camp out in the prescribed form, convenient for procuring water, wood, and forage, 
and a place to which the natives, if friendly, could readily bring this produce for barter. 

We should expect, then, to tina on each approach to the camp at Caerbannau, an entrenchment at 
a distance regulated by the necessity of mountain travel, but approximately IS miles English, a 
subsidiary entrenchment, good enough perhaps for summer residence, but at least sufficient for a night's 
rest when the army was on its march. From Brecon to Abergavenny is twenty miles, a long day's 
march. It is accordingly divided into two, and the camp at Gaer Cumdu is pleasantly situated in 
the valley, just below the " Half-way House " of modern times. The carved stones found in the 
neighbourhood of this camp indicate that it was permanently occupied ; it may have been used as a 
place of summer residence. In the opposite direction towards Carmarthen a camp is found on the 
edge of the county on the Trecastle Hill, about fifteen miles from the camp at Brecon. 

On the Sam Helen the journey from Neath to Brecon was broken at a camp also on the boun- 
dary of the modern county. The stage from Neath being perhaps twelve miles and that to Brecon 
about sixteen, an arduous mountain march over the Beacon range. From Brecon, the Sarn Helen 
took the route to Builth over the Eppynt range, roughly speaking the line of what is now the sixteen 
mile road. No station has been found between Brecon and Builth which would seem an appropriate 
resting place ; the castle field with its various ditches may have been the site of a camp, though it has 
never been recognised. At Llanyre in Radnorshire, a few miles further, a Roman station is marked 
on the Ordnance map. This would have been too distant from Brecon to have covered in one day. 
The last road from Brecon to Cardiff has its station (as is said) on the Aberdare Hill. This would 
give a distance of about 15 miles from Brecon, the distance at which such a station would reasonably 
have been looked for. 


One of the finest Roman stones found in this country was ploughed up in a field at Battle in 
1877. It is two feet high ; broken length 22 inches. Letter D, 2| inches ; N, 2\ inches. Professor 
Hiibner and the Rev. J. Wordsworth suggest the following reading : Dis[manibus C Juli] CARN[didi] 
(Tanci) Ni fili eq (quitis) (alee) Hisp(anorum) VETTON(um) (civium Romanorum Julius) Clem 
(ens) DoM(itius valens heredes fecerunt) ANN(orum) xx STip(endiorum) III. H(ic situs est). The 
date is suggested as the end of the first or beginning of the 2nd century. The place where the stone 
was found was about a mile from the Roman camp at Bannium. It was in 1902 preserved at Pen- 
noyre mansion. The engraving here produced was made from a photograph taken by Mrs. Cleasby of 


In 1851, a Roman tile was found at the important Roman station, the Gaer. bearing the inscription 
LEG. II AVG. It was preserved by Mrs Price, the landlady of the Gaer Farm at that period, 
— (one of the ancestors of the Prices of 17. Bridge Street, Brecon, a family for several generations 
resident in this district, and to whose memory there are many old monumental stones in the Priory 
and Aberyscir — as well as another tile previously discovered. Drawings of them were made for 
exhibition at the Tenby meeting of the Cambrian Archaeological Association, held about that time. 

Mr David Evans, J. P., of Ffrwdgrech, the present owner of the property at the Gaer, has also 
at Ffrwdgrech a collection of the above which have been recovered from the Gaer Camp (Bannium). 
Amongst this collection are Roman bricks inscribed Leg. II. AvG. (the Second Legion of Augustus — 
half the Legion was stationed here) ; two glass beads or rings, one grey the other blue or purple ; 
coins, seven apparently gold, of which two are the size of a florin, the others smaller, about 12 
bronze and copper. These seem to have been injured by fire and cannot be identified. There are 
also many fragments of Samian ware : on the handles of some amphorae are the potterer's initials 
ISLP. This lustrus red ware is conjectured to be that spoken of by Pliny and other authors, as 
used by the Romans for their meals and other domestic purposes. It is not suggested that ware 
found in England was actually made at Samos. The term Samian was used as in the present day 
china is a term for all sorts of earthenware, European or Oriental. 


History continued — From Brychan Brecheiniogj sometimes called Brychan Yrth, to the Reign and Succession in 
the Line of Cradoc Fraich-fras. 

" T^RACHANUS," says Dr. Powel 2 speaking of Brychan, " natus erat patre Haulapho Hybernorum 
r^ Regeet Matre Britannica, nimirum, Marcella, filia Theodorici filii Teithphalti Reguli de 
Garthmadryn, illius nempe Regionis qucp/ab hoc Brachano nomen accipit et hodie Brechonia vel 
Brechinia dicitur Britannice Brecheinoc ' '' ; so that it seems clear, whether the mother of Brychan 
went into Ireland, attended in the manner just mentioned, or not ; or whether she was or was not 
possessed of that girdle, whose virtue we should suppose would have made such a journey un- 
necessary, she married an Irishman, who it is said, died in Breconshire and was buried in Llan- 
spyddid in that county, where a stone now to be seen, though there is no inscription upon it, is 
supposed to have been placed to his memory. The time of his death is unknown, but he was suc- 
ceeded in the government of Breconshire by his son Brychan, in the beginning of the fifth century. 
The MS. in Jesus College, before mentioned, says he begun his reign in the year 400, and that he 
died in 450 : he however did not establish himself without considerable difficulty, as the native princes, 
jealous perhaps of his Irish origin, made great opposition to his claims ; particularly as his country- 
men and the Picts and Saxons, had a few years previous to, and indeed during his time, renewed 
their incursions into Britain, for, in 420, we are informed that a horde of these plunderers were 
defeated at Maesgarmon in Flintshire, 3 by the Britons, with the bishops Germanus and Lupus at 
their head. The monkish historians attribute this victory to the suggestion of the former prelate, who 
instructed his army to attend to the word he gave and to repeat it : accordingly he pronounced 
that of Halleluliah I His soldiers caught the sacred sound, proclaimed it aloud three times with such 
extatic force, that the hills resounded with the cry ; the enemy were panic struck and fled on all 
sides, laying down Uibear arms and their booty, whilst the pious Britons pocketed the plunder and 
thanked God for his assistance : however improbable this tale may appear, it may perhaps be recon- 
ciled to truth, without having recourse to a miracle. 


" Brychan, we are told, had three wives, of names most unintelligible and uncouth even to a 
Welshman ; whose powers of swallowing consonants are supposed to be equal to those of an ostrich 
in devouring and digesting iron. The Jesus College MS. does not give them to us, but George Owen 
Harry calls them Eurbrost, Ambrost and Pharwvstry, and the Bonedd y Saint, Eurbrawst, Rhy- 
brawst, and Pheresgri : the reader is of course at liberty to adopt whichever set he prefers. By these 
wives he had a numerous progeny ; most of whom embraced a religious life, and became the nursing 
fathers and nursing mothers of the church: ' Quibus passim per Cambro-Britanniam,' says Giraldus, 
' Templa et Divorum et Divarum nomina, inscribuntur ' ; yet there are hardly two genealogists who 
perfectly agree as to their names. They are said to be more than forty in number. The names of 
thirty-four, copied from a Welsh MS. of Llewelyn Offeiriad, by Mr Edward Llwyd, were sent by him 
to Hugh Thomas, and will be here introduced. Thomas informed Mr Llwyd (as appears by a letter 4 
of his, still preserved among his papers in the British Museum) that he had also a list copied 
from a MS. of a Mr. John Jones, of Devynock. George Owen Harry gives another, Leland another, 
from the life of St Nectanus, and the Myjyrian Archaeology another ; all differing as to some of the 
names. Leland 5 makes them all reside in Devon and Cornwall. Mr. Carte 6 says, the sons of 
Brychan were sent to Ireland to be instructed in religion and learning ; but Hugh Thomas' thinks 
it probable that some of them at least received their education from Saint Dyfrig or Dubricius (after- 
wards consecrated a bishop by Saint Germain), who then kept his famous school, spoken of by 

1 In his corrections in Vol. 2 Tlieo. Jones has this note : — after all de novo mercatu may with full as great propriety be 

" In deference to my predecessors I have translated and des- translated when it occurs in ancient documents, of the new 

cribed Bernard Newmareh, the Conqueror of Brecknock, by de march, as of the new market." — Edwin Davies. 
novo mercatu, or of Newmarket, but it has lately occurred to me 2 Note on the 2nd Chap. Gir. Camb. Itin. 

that as he neither came from a Newmarket in France or in Eng- 3 Pennant's tour in Wales, vol. 1. p. 437. 

land, or ever had any possessions in either, he should be more 4 Harl. Coll. No. (5381. 

properly called Bernard le ncuj marcher, or de Je neuf marches, 5 Collectanea, vol. 4. p. 153. 8vo. 

the new lord marcher, or of the new marches ; a description li Hist of England, vol. 1. p. 186. 

peculiarly appropriate in his time to the Borders of Wales ; yet 7 Harl. Coll. No. 2289. 


the centuriators of Magdeburgh, upon the hanks of the Wye, probably at a place now called 
Gwenddwr or Gwaynddwr ; from whence he obtained the name of Gainius or Gwaynius 1 Vagensis. 

"The sons of Brychan, according to the Jesus College MS., were Cynawg, Drem Drem-rudd, or the 
ruddy countenanced, Clydwyn (the first legitimate son according to others), Ilien, Papai (whom the 
Irish, says the .MS., call Pianno, Pivannus and Piapponus), Cynodi, Rhwfan, .Marehai. Dingat, Berwyn 
and Rheidoc ; tin; daughters, Gwladis, Wrgren, Marchell, Gwtlith, Drynwin, Cyngar, Rhynhyder, Eleri, 

Gwawr, Gwtvil, rugon, Eitech, Tangwystl Tydvil, Goleuddydd, - — van, Gwen, Felii, Tybieu, 

Emmreith, Rhyneiden, Cledy, another Gwen, and Alud, to which some MSS. add Cenau and Dwynwen, 
and others, Ceinwen. 


" Cynawg or Cynog, as has been before noticed, was a natural son of Brychan, by a daughter of 
Banadyl prince of Powis, whose name was Banadlvedd. Soon after his birth 2 lie was put under the 
care of a holy man named Gastayn, to whom the church near Llangorse pool, called Llangasty 
talyllyn. was dedicated, and by whom he was baptized. Cynog is recorded in tin- Romish calendar 
as a Saint of great celebrity. Cressy 3 says the fame of his sanctity was most eminent among 
the Silures ; his name is consigned among our English martyrology mi the eleventh of February, 
where he flourished in all virtues about the year of Christ 4!I2. To him refers that which Giraldus 
reporteth of the wreath of St. Canawe (for so he calls him) which the inhabitants of the county 
esteem to be a precious relick and of wonderful virtue ; insomuch that if anyone is to give testimony, 
if that wreath be placed in sight, he dare not commit perjury. This wreath is spoken of in the 
legend of Brychan, as a bracelet given by Brychan to his son on the day of his baptism, and which, 
the reporter says, ' is still preserved.' When he wrote we do not know, but unfortunately we do 
know that it has been long irrecoverably lost ; as without asserting that mankind are become more 
wicked than they were in the year 492, though it is much the fashion to think so, we may venture 
to affirm that in proportion, as population has increased, and oaths have been multiplied, it would be 
ten thousand times more useful in 1805 than it was in the days of St. Cynog. 

'This holy man is said to have been murdered by the Pagon Saxons, 4 upon a mountain called 
the Van, in the parish of Merthyr Cynog in Breconshire. The following churches in this county are 
dedicated to his memory : Merthyr Cynog or St. C'ynog the Martyr, Devynog, 5 Penderin and Llan- 
gynog ; as are also Boughrood in Radnorshire, and Llangynog in Montgomeryshire. 


"Before we proceed to the lines of Drem Drem-rudd (by some called Rhain) and Clydwyn, between 
whom the greatest part of the territories of Brychan were divided, we shall take the liberty of dis- 
posing of the Saints and Saintesses of the family, who seem to have inherited little, if any. of their 
father's possessions, and to have placed their expectations much higher ; as their whole endeavours 
were to seek a kingdom not of this world. ( >f llien, Papai and Cynodi, the third, fourth, and fifth 
sons, we know nothing. Rhwvan settled at Anglesea ; Marehai, in Cyveiliog in Powis, and Berwin, in 
Cornwall. Dingat resided near the place where the town of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire is now 
situate ; where a church is dedicated to his memory, as well as at Dingatstow in Monmouthshire ; 
though Brown Willis incorrectly says these churches were dedicated to Saint Mary. Dingat had two 
sons, Pascen and Cyflydr. Hugh Thomas says that in Tywyn church in Merioneddshire is an antient 
tomb-stone, thus inscribed, P AS E N T. This, if not the grave of Pascentius the son of Vortigern, 
who had territories, as it is said, in the neighbourhood of Builth, was, in all probability, a monument 
to the memory of Pascen ap Dingat. Rheidoc. the youngest son of Brychan. according to Llewelyn 
Offeiriad's MS. in Jesus College, which we have hitherto followed, is supposed to have passed the 
greatest part of his life in France ; and there is a question whether he was not the Sanctus Briocus 
or Brioc, Bishop of Brieux in Normandy, noticed by Cressy, as the pupil of St. Germain or Germanus ; 
but Mr. Carte thinks not. In the life of St. Brioc, published by Andrew Saussage. in Martyrol. 
Gallic, he is said to have been a Briton of noble birth, in Provincia Corticana, which Camden and 
Archbishop Usher have mistaken for the county of Cork in Ireland. Carte believes him to have been 
a native of Cardiganshire, called Regio Ceretica. from Ceretus or Cereticus, an antient regulus of that 

"Gwladis. the eldest daughter of Brychan. married Gwnlliw ap Glewissus, regulus of that part of 
antient Gwent, which lies between the rivers Usk and Rhymny. then called Glewissig. Capgrave tells 

1 He was (it is said) of Abergwayi 

i or Fishgua 

rd and from 


2 Church history. 

place of his nativity, called (Jainiu 

s, but Lehu 

hI says, he 


4 From the .MS. of Thomas Truman < 

)f Pant Llwyd, 

born on the banks of the Wye, 

anor. < rlamorganshire, 

- Cotton MSS. 

5 Sed. q. v. Postea, 


us that Gunleus growing weary of the world, abdicated his government, and retired to a cell, where, 
living with singular austerity, he supported the remainder of his life by the labour of his hands ; but 
John of Tinmouth (who calls him a king of the Southern Britons) says, that after the death of his 
father, he being the eldest son, divided his kingdom into seven parts ; six of which he gave his 
brethren, reserving to himself the other part, as well as the seigniory over the whole. Ystradgynlais, 
or the vale of Gunleus, is in Breconshire, on the borders of Glamorganshire, and was perhaps so named 
from him. He was attended in his last moments by Dubricius bishop of Landaff, and died in the 
arms of his son Cadoc or Cattwg, on the twenty-ninth of March, A.D. 500. The churches of Llan- 
gunllo in Radnorshire, Nantgunllo in Cardiganshire, and St. Woolos near Newport, in Monmouthshire, 
are consecrated to his memory. He left issue by his wife Gwladis, St. Cattwg, St. Cynidr, and other 

"St. Cattwg the wise (as Owen in his Cambrian Biography calls him) was the first who made 
a collection of the proverbs and maxims of the Britons : according to his author, he had a brother 
named Cammarch, to whom the church of Llangammarch in Buallt was dedicated. He was educated 
under an Irish Saint called Tathai, who had opened a celebrated school in Gwent or Caerwent. the 
Venta Silurum of the Romans. Having agreeably to the law of Gavelkind, inherited part of his 
father's lands, he founded on his own portion, the Abbey of Llancarvan in Glamorganshire, which he 
governed, and in which he exercised an unreserved system of hospitality, for Capgrave tells us he 
daily sustained one hundred ecclesiastical persons, as many widows, and as many other poor people, 
besides those who visited him : for though he was an abbot and had many monks under his govern- 
ment, he very properly and very prudently reserved a part of his father's principality, to be charitably 
distributed to such as were in need. He is said to have died in North Wales ; authors differ as to 
the precise period. Harpsfield makes him alive in the year 570, but Cressy says this is erroneous, as 
St. Dubricius is recorded to have been present at his, as well as his father's death. The inquiry at 
this time would hardly be worth pursuing, excepting that in a chronological point of view, it may be 
useful to establish the origin and foundation of those churches that" have been dedicated to his 
memory. Gibbon, however, observes that the ancient legendaries deserve some regard, as they are • 
obliged to connect their fables with the real history of their own times ; and another author remarks 
that in the grand collection of French historians, executed with a care and magnificence worthy of a 
great nation, the ancient lives of Saints are inserted under each century or division, as equal vouchers 
with the ancient historians. 

"St. Cynidr, the brother of Cattwg, according to Hugh Thomas (though George Owen Harry makes 
him a son of Caengar, and another MS. of Rhiengar, a daughter of Brychan), lived, as Cressy reports, 
a solitary life in the province of Glamorgan, in the same place where yet remains a chapel called St. 
Kenneth, and which country from him afterwards took the appellation of Sanghenith, or the lordship 
of St. Kenneth ; although Camden, in his description of Glamorganshire, mentions West Gower as the 
place of his residence. For the history of his miracles, the pious legends of Capgrave must be con- 
sulted : he is said to have been buried at Gla/.bury in Radnorshire. The parish churches of Llangynidr 
and Aberescir 1 in Breconshire are dedicated to him ; though Ecton calls St. Mary the patron saint of 
the latter. 

"Wrgren, the second daughter of Brychan, married Iorwerth Hirflawdd, or Edward the tall and 
active, son of Tegonwy, son of Teon, son of Gwinau Daufrieddawd, or the brown double dreamer, son 
of Hwydeg, son of Rhun, son of Rhuddbaladr or red spear, son of Lary, son of Caswar Wledig, son 
of Beli mawr, or Beli the great, king of Britain. This Beli mawr was' also the ancestor of Elistan 
Glodrydd, prince of Fferregs, and Justin ap Gwrgan, prince of Glamorgan. 

"Marchcll or Marcella, the third daughter, married Gwrhir or Garhir, or according to George Owen 
Harry, Wyn Hirfardrwch, or Wyn of the long and bushy beard. Gwtlith (the fourth) is said to have 
lived at Llys-ronwy in Glamorganshire. Drynwin (the fifth) was the wife of Cynfach oer, or the cold, 
son of Meirehion cul-galed, or Meirchion the slender and hardy, a chieftain in the North of England ; 
she bore in her womb, according to the Trioedd or Triads, ' the blessed burden of Urien Reged,' 
king of Reged or Cumberland, and Eirddil his twin sister. This Urien was of high celebrity in the 
court of Arthur and a most valiant knight : he was afterwards elected to the sovereignty of Cum- 
bria, and lived about the year 560. Many notices may be found of him in Evans's specimens of 
Welsh poetry, as well as in the British Triads : he was the most famous of all tho kings of Cumbria, 
being the Urbgen of the additions to Nennius, and in his court flourished the three great poets, 
Aneurin Gwawdrydd, Taliesin, and Llywarch hen. The first, in poems that are still extant, enumerates 

1 In 1490, Dewros ap Jedkin was collated by the bishop of the description of " Ecclesia Sancti Kenedri de Aberescir."-- 
St. David's (patron pro hac vice) to the living of Aberescir, by Bishop's Register at Abergwili. 


twelve pitch battles fought by Urien : that of Argoed Llwyfain or Elm-wood, is particularly described : 
it was Fought with Flamddwyn or the Flame-bearer, as the Britons called Ida, the first Saxon king 
of Northumberland: Owen, the son of Urien, then commanded his father's forces, as wo find from 
the following lines : 

Attorelwis Flamddwyn fawr drybestawd, 
A ddodynt gyngwystlon ? a ydynt parawd? 
Yr attebwys Owain ddwyrain ffossawd, 
Ni ddodynt iddynt, ni.l ynt parawd; 
A Chenau inil> ('•"■! KvMai L,'vinin\vawg ll<-\v, 
Cyn y talai .. wystl nebawd. 

Literally translated thus (or at least as nearly as the two languages will permit) : 

Says Flamddwyn the great, rejoicing in victory, 
Will they give hostages ? are they ready — 
Owen of the uplifted stroke, answered, 
They'll not give hostages ; they are not ready ; 
And Cenau the son of Coel will resemble an enraged lion, 
Before ho gives hostages to any one. 

Flush VI with conquest Flamddwyn said, 
Boastful at his army's head, 
Strive not to oppose the stream ; 
Redeem your lives, your lands redeem, 
Give me pledges. Flamddwyn cried ; 
" Never ; " Urien's son replied : 
Owen of the mighty stroke, 
Kindling as the hero spoke : 
Cenau, Coel's blooming heir, 
Caught the flame and grasp'd the spear : 
Shall Coel's issue, pledges give 
To the insulting foe and live ? 
Never such be Britons shame : 
Never till this mangled frame. 
Vanquished like a lion lie, 
Drench'd in blood and bleeding die. 

" It appears by another poem of Aneurin Gwawdrydd, entitled Marwnad Owain ap Urien Reged, 
or an elegy upon the death of Owen the son of Urien Reged, that the boastful Flamddwyn fell by 
the hand of Owen in this very battle. 

" Of Cyngar and Rhynhyder, the sixth and seventh daughters of Brychan, we have no account. 
Fieri or Melari, the eighth, was the mother of Saint David the archbishop, according to Cressy : he 
says Melari was another name for Nonnita. But our pedigrees make Eleri or rather Melari, wife to 
Caredig prince or regulus of Cardigan and mother to Xanthus, Sandde or Sant, father of Saint David. 
The English writers have confounded these persons by supposing Melari to be Non or Nonnita, the 
mother of Saint David; whereas Non was the daughter of one Gynyr, who lived at a place called 
Caerganch in Minvia, as old writings inform us. .Melari is said to have had ten grandchildren, who 
were all Saints. George Owen Harry makes Helen the daughter of Brychan, to be the wife of Caredig 
son of Cynedda Wledig and mother of Sant the father of Saint David, whom Giraldus Cambrensis 
calls Sanctus. 


" Gwaler, or rather as George Owen Harry and the Jesus College MS. call her, Gwawr (the dawn 
or Aurora), ninth daughter of Brychan, was the wife of Elvdr Llydanwyn, the younger brother of 
Cynfarch oer and mother to Llywarch hen. This prince (for such he was) hail a considerable territory 
in the North of England; he not only cultivated an acquaintance with the muses, but shone in arms, 
and was one of those who signalised themselves in an age remarkable in the history of Britain for 
terrible wars and devastations. Llywarch hen. however, took no part in the civil war, which brought 
on the catastrophe at Catalan so fatal to the Britons, in which Arthur fell in 542 : foreseeing the 
impending storm, he entered into a confederacy with his relation, Urien king of Cumberland and his 
valiant son Owen, to repel the incursions of the Saxons, who menaced the very existence of the 
British government in the North ; these persevering invaders having already possessed themselves of 
all that country to the East, called Deifr a Brynich or Deira and Bernieia. The latter was erected 
into a kingdom by Ida in the year r>47, as the Saxon Chronicle and all our historians affirm, except 
Matthew of Westminster, who places that event in the following year. Upon the death of Ida (A.D. 
560), Ella the son of Iffi assumed the title of king of Deira. Richard of Hexham, a Northumbrian 
writer in 1180, says that Deira extended from the Humber to the Tees, and Bernieia from the Tees 
to the Tweed : they were both afterwards united by Ethelfred, who formed from them the kingdom 
of Northumberland. 


"Nothing contributed more towards the conquests of the Saxons than the divisions that reigned 
among the Britons. It appears from the antient writers of that country that they were much more 
ready to draw their swords upon one another than to employ them against the common enemy ; they 
broke out into wars among themselves and rebellion against their kings, upon the slightest pretences 
and upon quarrels, the subjects of which appear at present to be trifling and almost ridiculous, Thus 
it was that the base intriguing Modred destroyed the noble Arthur ; the jealousy of Morgant was the 
cause of the death of Urien ; and a foolish squabble about a lark's nest and a couple of dogs occasioned 
the fatal battle of Arderydd in 577, between ^Eddan ap Gafran Pradog, or the treacherous, and Gwenddolau 
the son of Ceidiaw the son of Arthur, a descendant of Coel, on the one side and Rhydderch ap Tydwal 
on the other. Llywarch hen lost twenty-four of his sons in these continued battles, and lived, as it 
is said, to the age of one hundred and fifty. His poems are plaintive and elegiac : several of them, 
particularly that in which he laments the death of these sons, have great merit. The English transla- 
tion, however, of the latter by Mr Elliot, published in Jones's Reliques of the Bards in my opinion, 
far surpasses the original in poetic beauty. 

See the warlike train advance, 

Skill'd to poise the pond'rous lance : 

Gulden chains their breasts adorn ; 

Sure for conquest were they born. 

Four and twice ten sons were mine. 

Used in battles front to shine : 

But low in dust my sons were laid, 

Not one remains his sire to aid. 

Hold ! Oh Hold my brain thy seat ! 

How doth my bosom's monarch beat ; 

Cease thy throbs perturbed heart, 

Whether would thy stretch'd strings start ? 

From frenzy dire and wild affright 

Keep my senses thro' this night ! 

[ancient monument to llywarch 's memory.] 

" Llywarch hen died upon the banks of the Dee near Bala, in Merioneddshire, where is still a 
secluded spot called Pabell Llywarch hen, or Llywarch the old's tent or cot. Dr. Davies says that 
in his time there was an inscription to his memory, to be seen on the wall of the church, wherein it 
was said the venerable bard was interred ; but the beautifications (we use a Gothic term to describe a 
Gothic act) of succeeding churchwardens have long obliterated all traces of it. 

" Gwtfil, the tenth daughter of Brychan, was the wife of Cyngar (the son of Cynwawr, or rather of 
Cadell Deymllyg) and mother of Brochwel Yscythrog or Scethrog. George Owen Harry calls her in 
one place Tanglwst, and in another Tywyl, the daughter of Cadell Deyrnllyg and mother of Brochwel 
Yscythrog. Dr. Powel, in a note on Giraldus Cambrensis, calls her Tydvael the wife of Congen, the 
son of Cadell prince of Powis and mother of Brochwel, sirnamed 'Scythroc, who slew Ethelfred king 
of the Northumbrians upon the river Dee, about the year 603. Hugh Thomas here charges Dr. 
Powel with gross errors, both in facts and chronology. In the first place, he says, it is evident Dr. 
Powel has mistaken one daughter of Brychan for another ; in the next, Hugh Thomas affirms that 
Ethelfred king of Northumberland, so far from having been slain by Brochwel in the battle of the 
Dee, was victorious there and alive in 617, when he was slain by Redwald king of the East Angles 1 ; 
and lastly, he tells us that it was extremely improbable that Brochwel Yscythrog, who was only 
the grandson of Brychan, should be living at the commencement of the seventh century. According 
to the old British Chronicle, the battle of Chester above alluded to, between Brochwel and Ethelfred, 
was fought in the year 593; some, with Dr. Powel, place it in 603, not considering that Bede ex- 
pressly says that in this very year .Ethelfred was engaged in another part of his dominions, repelling 
the incursions of the Dalreudini. The Saxon Chronicle carries it down to 607, and the Ulster Annals 
tn 61,",, Imt at whichever of those periods it happened, Powel, it should seem, is incorrect; for it is 
universally agreed that the father of Brochwel, whether called Cyngar or Congen, married one of the 
daughters of Brychan Brecheiniog, whose death is generally placed in 450, though perhaps it was 
some lew years subsequent to that time. His paternal grandfather Cadell, sirnamed Derynllyg, as 
Nennius records, was converted and baptised by St. Germanus ; at which time he had nine sons, of 
whom Congen Cyngen, as his successor in the principality, was probably the eldest; all this must have 
happened before the year 448, for in that year St. Germanus died at Ravenna. Cyngen then, at ths 
very latest, must have been born in the year 438, probably much earlier: this however forms a 
period of one hundred and sixty-five years between his birth and the year 603, when his son Brochwel 
fought with /Ethelfred on the river Dee. But the Doctor (in his edition of his Welsh history, page 

1 In this account of the death of .Fthelfred, Hugh Thomas is confirmed by the English historians. 


2.3) extends his life fourteen years longer, and places him at the head of an army as late as the year 
<H7; this (supposing his father to he thirty years of age when his son was horn) would make Brochwel 
no less than one hundred and nineteen years of age, a circumstance we must allow extremely improb- 
able. Hugh Thomas says there were three Brochwels : he says one Brochwel lived in the reign of 
Aurelius Ambrosius, to whom heralds after he had defeated Hengist (whose arms were a horse saliant) 
gave three horses' heads coup'd at the neck, and another Brochwel lived about the year 617, one 
hundred and fifty-six years after Brochwel Yscythrog. 


"The name of the eleventh daughter in this MS. has heen imperfectly transmitted to us: George 
Owen Harry calls her Gwenfrewi, and says she married Cadrod Calchfynidd, lord of Dunstable, Coles- 
hill and Northampton, and proprietor of an extensive tract of chalk hills, from whence he took the 
name of Calchfynidd, or Cadrod of the chalk mountain. His grandson Tegvan was a Saint in the 
Romish calendar, and gave name to Llandegfan in Anglesea, where Rowland informs us he had once a 
cell. St. Tydecho had also his cloisters there, and is by some reckoned to be the patron saint of the 
place : St. ^Elian, from whom Llanselian in Anglesea, was nephew of St. Tydecho. 

"Of Eitech, the twelfth daughter, we know nothing further than that she resided at Towyn in 
Merioneddshire. George Owen Harry takes no notice, of her. 

" Tangwystl Tydvil lived in Glamorganshire. Llwyd says her name should be written Tangvistil, 
and thinks a word has been omitted in the copy from which he transcribed, or probably that Tydvil 
was only an Agnoman : she suffered martydom, and from her we have Merthyr Tydvil. a parish in 
Glamorganshire adjoining Breeonshire on the South West. According to Owen's Camb. Biog. (1803), 
upon the authoriy of the PantUwyd or Llansanor MS., she met her father, when he was an old man, 
attended by some of her brothers ; whereupon they were beset by a party of Pagan Saxons, and 
Gwyddelian Ffichti. and she and her father and brother Rhiin DremnM were murdered: hut Nefydd 
the son of Rhun, then a youth, exerted himself in raising the force of the country and afterwards put 
the enemy to flight. 

" Goleuddydd (the light or dawning of day), Brychan's fourteenth daughter, married Tutwawl 
Bybyr, or Tutwawl the valiant, a prince of some territory in Scotland, according to Mr. Llwyd. 

"The name of the fifteenth daughter is lost. This daughter was the mother of Aeddan, son of 
Gwawrean Fredawc. George Owen Harry informs us that Llian the daughter of Brychan was married 
to Gaffran the father of Aeddan Fradfawr, or Aiddan the traitor. Moses Williams, in a note upon the 
JErce Cambro-Brittanicce, published in his edition of Humphrey Llwyd's Commentariolum, says that 
Gafran ap Aeddan Fradog, ap Gafran, r ap Dyfnawl hen, was married to Llian the daughter of Brychan. 
This is the same Aeddan who was engaged with Gwenddolau in the battle of Aiderydd, in which he 
was defeated and compelled to fly for safety to the Isle of Man. 

" Gwen or Gwenllian was married to Llyr Merini lord of Gloucester, son to Meirchion eul-gadarn or 
cul-galed, and elder brother to Cynfarch-oer and Elydr Llydanwyn : she was mother to Cradoc Fraich- 
fras, whom we shall soon see possessing Breeonshire, and probably claiming under her. Llewelyn 
Offeriad says she was buried in Talgarth. 

" Of Felii, Tybie, Emmrhaith and Rhyneiden. we have no account or tradition, save that Tybie 
was buried in Caermarthenshire, in a place called from her, Llanybie or Lladcbie, and Rhyneiden at 
Cydweli in the same county. 

"Cledy, the twenty-first daughter, lived in Emlyn in Caermarthenshire. where the genealogists of 
South Wales say a church was dedicated to her. called Clydeu or Clyday : but Brown Willis affirms 
Saint Christiolus to be the patron saint of that parish, who' Rowland tells us was the son of Owen ap 
Ynyr, a nobleman of Armorica, and to whom Llangristiolus in Anglesea was dedicated. Owen makes 
Christiolius to be theon of Hywel Vychan, the son of Hywel, the son of Emyr or Ynyr of Amorica. 
Of the second Gwen, no further account is given in the MS. than that she died in the Isle of Angle- 

st. elud's chapel at siavch. 
"Brychan's twenty-third daughter is called in different MSS. by the names of Elud, Alud, Elyned, 
and Ahmed; which latter appellation the monkish writers, by a mistake easily accounted for. Latinised 
into Almeda or Almedha. She lived, as we are informed, at Ruthin in Glamorganshire (perhaps 
Roath or Ruderi) and suffered martyrdom, according to Cressy's Church History, upon a hill near 
Brecknock, called Penginger. This hill is now generally known by the name of Slwch, though part of 
it still retains its old appellation. Penginger is a corruption of Ten cefn y gaer, the summit of the 
ridge of the fortification; from an old British camp, the remains of which are still visible. Not far 


from the camp, on the north side, formerly stood this chapel, or as Giraldus Cambrensis calls it 
stately edifice ; it is now completely ruinated and can only be traced by tradition to a spot where a 
heap of stones and an aged yew tree, 1 with a well at its root, mark its site : it is about one mile, 
eastward of Brecon on the left hand side of the road leading from that place to a farmhouse called 
Slwch. In a parchment roll in the Augmentation Office containing a list of the possessions of the 
religious houses in the time of Henry the Eighth this structure is called the Chapel of St. Alice in 
the parish of Brecknock. It fell down in the latter end of the 17th century. According to Owen, 
another church was consecrated to her memory at Mold in Flintshire. She was undoubtedly the 
Almedha of Giraldus Cambrensis, who particularly nut ices the ' Basilica ' upon Penginger. ' This 
devout virgin,' says he, ' rejecting the proposals of an earthly prince, who sought her in marriage, 
and espousing herself to the eternal king, consummated her life by a triumphant martyrdom. The 
day of her solemnity is celebrated every year on the first day of August.' He then proceeds to 
record the miracles of the Saint and the faith and religious frenzy of her votaries ; upon which his 
annotator is a little waggish and hints that they might now and then have taken a cup too much. 


" Cenai, Ceneu, or Keyna is the patroness of Llangeney in Brecknockshire ; of this sainted lady 
Cressy treats at large, and as her church, as well as the place of her habitation during the latter part 
of her life, are so well known and ascertained, she has some claim upon our attention as an old 
acquaintance and domiciliated countrywoman. I shall therefore make a short extract from the 
ponderous folio of this writer : ' She (St. Keyna, so he calls her) was of royal blood, being the 
daughter of Braganus prince of Brecknockshire. When she came to ripe years many nobles sought 
her in marriage, but she utterly refused that state ; having consecrated her virginity to our Lord by 
a perpetual vow ; for which cause she was afterwards by the Britons called Keyn tviri, that is, Keyna 
the virgin. At length she determined to forsake her country and find out some desert place, where 
she might attend to contemplation. Therefore, directing her journey beyond Severn, and there meeting 
a woody place, she made her request to the prince of that country that she might be permitted to 
serve God in that solitude. His answer was that he was very willing to grant her request, but that 
the place did so swarm with serpents that neither man or beast could inhabit it : but she constantly 
replied that her firm trust was in the name and assistance of Almighty God to drive all that poisonous 
brood out of that region. Hereupon the place was granted to the holy virgin, who presently 
prostrating herself to God, obtained of Him to change the serpents and vipers into stones, and to this 
day the stones in that region doe resemble the windings of serpents through all the fields and villages, 
as if they had been framed so by the hand of the engraver.' Camden, who notices this story in his 
account of Somersetshire, says that the place is now called Keynsham, between Bath and Bristol, 
where abundance of that fossil, termed by the naturalists Cornu Ammonis, is frequently dug up : he 
is not quite an infidel, though not perfectly convinced of the truth of the origin and cause of these 
petrifactions of serpents, but calls them miracles of sporting nature, and seems to express some degree 
of surprise at one which he saw dug up from a quarry near the place he has been describing, ' which 
(says he) represented a serpent rolled up into a spire ; the head of it stuck out into the outward 
surface, and the end of the tayle terminated in the centre.' A similar miracle is related of St. 
Hilda, at Whitby in Yorkshire. 

" But to return to our holy virgin : Cressy proceeds to tell us, upon the authority of Capgrave, 
that ' after many years spent in this solitary place, and the fame of her sanctity everywhere divulged, 
and many Oratories built by her, her nephew Saint Cadoc, performing a pilgrimage to the mount of 
St. Michael, met there with his blessed aunt St. Keyna ; at whose sight, he being replenished with joy, 
and being desirous to bring her back to her own country, the inhabitants of that region would not 
permit him ; but afterwards by the admonition of an angel, the holy maid returned to the place of 
her nativity, where, on the top of a hillock, seated at the foot of a high mountain, she made a little 
habitation for herself, and by her prayers to God obtained a spring there to flow out of the earth, 
which, by the merits of the holy virgin, affordeth health to divers infirmities.' She is said to have 
departed this life on the eighth day of the lues of October, A.D. 490, ana to have been buried in her 
own Oratory by her nephew St. Cadoc. Some time previous to her death, we are told, she had a 
prospect of her eternal happiness in a future world in a vision ; being ministered to and comforted by 
angels. To her nephew St. Cadoc she thus prophesied : ' This is the place above all others beloved 
by me ; here my memory shall lie perpetuated ; this place I will often visit in spirit, if it may be 
permitted me, and I am assured it shall lie permitted me, because our Lord hath granted me this 
place as a certain inheritance. The time will come when this place shall be inhabited by a sinful 

1 The yew tree disappeared hi the year 1900, and only the well, or spring, now remains to mark the spot. 


people, which, notwithstanding, I will violently root out of this seat. My tombe shall lye a long time 
unknown untitt the coming of other people, whom by my prayers I shall bring hither ; them will I 
protect and defend, and in this place shall the name of the Lord be Messed for ever.' These good 
strangers are not yet arrived, as her tomb has not hitherto hern discovered ; though the well of St. 
Ceneu is known and the situation of her Oratory may he traced, hut a description of them is reserved 
to that part of this work which relates to the parochial history of the county. 


" Dwynwen, the youngest daughter of Brvchan. according to the .MS. in the British Museum, though 
omitted by Llewelyn Offeiriad, was a Saint of such celebrity that the shade, of David ap Gwylym 
imperiously requires us to notice her, as some atonement for the silence of Llewelyn the priest," who 
for this instance of his inattention will lie consigned to eternal infamy, unless he avails himself of the 
benefit of clergy. A church, from her called Llanddwyn, was built and dedicated to the Saint in the 
Isle of Anglesea in the year of Christ 590 ; she is the Welsh Venus or Goddess of Love. ' Dwynwen 
Santes, Duwies y cariad, mereh Brychan ! ' (holy Dwynwen, Goddess of Love, daughter of Brvchan), 
says David ap Gwylym. Her shrine was much resorted to by desponding swains and love-sick maidens 
who, with many a suppliant offering, entreated her propitious smiles and solicited her intercessions and 
good offices with the objects of their affections. 

These garlands ever green and ever fair, 
With vows were offrd and with solemn pray'r. 
A thousand altars in her temple smok'd ; 
A thousand bleeding hearts her pow'r invok'd. 

" The bard of Glamorganshire, David ap Gwylym, has a poem or invocation to Dwynwen, which 
has been translated by Owen and is inserted in Jones's second volume of the Reliques of the Welsh 


"Before we return to the heroes of the race of Brychan, it may perhaps be proper that we should 
briefly notice the list of his children given in the Myfyrian Archaeology. This catalogue differs con- 
siderably, both in the names and number, from those we have followed, and is entitled " Bonedd y 
Saint, neu achau Saint ynis Prydain," i.e., the Genealogy of the Saints, or the Pedigree of the Saints 
of the Island of Britain. It is said to be a collection or selection from many old MSS. by Lewis Morris, 
in the year 1760. The names of the sons of Brychan given in this publication, from the authorities 
there shortly recapitulated, were: 1, Cynawc ; 2, Cledwyn ; 3, Dingad ; 4. Arthen ; 5, Cyflefyr ; 0, 
Rhain ; 7, Dyfnan ; 8, Gerwyn ; 9, Cadawc ; 10, Mathaiarn ; 11, Pascen ; 12, Neffei ; 13, Pabiali ; 14, 
Lleeheu ; 15,*Cynbryd; 16, Cynfran ; 17, Hychan ; IS, Dyfric ; 19, Cynin ; 20, Docfan ; 21, Rhawin ; 
22, Rhun ; 23. Cledawe ; and 24, Oayan. — The daughters : 1, Gwladis ; 2, Arianwen ; 3, Tanglwst ; 4, 
Mechell ; 5, Nevin ; 6. Gwawr ; 7, Gwrgon ; 8, Eleri ; 9, Llian ; 10, Nefydd ; 11, Rhiengar ; 12, Goleud- 
dydd ; 13, Gwenddydd ; 14, Tydieu ;' 15, Elined ; 16, Ceindryeh ; 17, Gwen ; 18, Cenedlon ; 19, 
Cymorth ; 20, Cledia ; 21, Dwynwen; 22, Ceinwen ; 23, Tydfil; 24, Enfail ; 25, Hawystl ; and 26, 
Tybie ; in all, fifty children. 


" From the funerals of these Saints, we return to the company of the two eldest legitimate sons of 
Brychan, between whom the little kingdom of Brecknock was again divided into two districts, called 
Brecheiniog and Cwmwd, afterwards C'wmwd Cantreff-Selvff ; the rulers over both of which provinces 
styled themselves brenhinoedd or reguli. Genealogists differ as to the seniority of these two sons. 
'I'hc pedigrees in the British Museum maki ( 'lydwyn the eldest, while that of Llewelyn Offeiriad, as 
well as the MS. legend in the Cottonian library, calls Drem, Drem-rudd or Rhain. the eldest, and 
Clydwyn the next ; the latter of whom had two sons, Clydawc and Pedita. Both became Saints, and 
with them his line ends according to this MS. It is probable that the Oxford document is correct, 
notwithstanding the majority are in favour of Clydwyn ; for wo hear nothing of his descendants, 
while we find those of Drem possessing the largest, richest, and most fertile part of the country, for 
centuries after him, and even to the time when they were ousted by the Norman conquerors, or until 
they came by intermarriage to the posterity of Cradoc Fraich-fras. 

" The line of boundary, which I conceive divided the Cwmwd or Cwmwd-Cantref-Selyff, from what 
would now be called the remainder of Brecknockshire, commenced on the river Wye on the North ; 
thence along the Western confines or boundary of Crickadarn ; afterwards to Gwenddwr ; then in a 
direction from North East to South West, to the head of the river Bran, leaving Merthyr Cynog, 
Aberescir 1 , and of course Brecknock to the East, in the kingdom or district of the Cwmwd ; from 

1 Aberescir was considered as a mesne lordship under that of Cantref Selyff so late as the year 160$. 


whence it turned Southward, leaving Llanfrynach (which we find as far down as the beginning of the 
eighteenth century in the possession of the descendants of Drem) and afterwards Cantreff, in the 
same division as Brecknock. From the head of the Bran, after crossing the Usk, this line ran in the 
same direction, and traced the present boundary between the hundreds of Devynnoek and Penkelley, 
and ended on the confines of Glamorganshire. If this was the case, it is not improbable that the 
chief town or residence of the reguli of Brecknock, prior to Brychan, was at Trecastle and Llywel ; 
the latter of which places signifies the resort or resting place of the army. This is the only reason 
we can assign for their being ever since united and appurtenant to the town of Brecknock ; to which 
Bernard Newmarch at the time of its erection attached all the privileges, and annexed the possessions 
of the old tovvn of Caerfan. Indeed, the legend of Brychan seems to confirm this opinion, for though 
it by no means proves that there was no such town as Benni, in the days of Tewdrig (in fact we 
know there was one at that place long prior to his time), yet it mentions the residence of Brychan 
at Benni upon his arrival from Ireland as an historical fact deserving of notice : from which it may 
be inferred, without any great stretch of conjecture, that he was the first who made that place the 
metropolis of his kingdom. We are likewise told in the same MS. that Tewdrig and his court, to 
avoid a pestilence, removed to Bryn-gwin, near Llanfaes, which if he lived at Benni would not have 
answered his purpose ; the distance from thence to Llanfaes not being much above two miles, whereas 
Trecastle is near ten miles off, and the difference of climate between the two places is very material 
and may be easily perceived. 


" We must not expect to hear much, if anything, of the actions and exploits of Rhain or Drem 
at this distance of time ; but I conceive, as the MS. legend above referred to asserts, that he was 
buried at Llandevailog near Brecon, and that the stone mentioned in Cough's Camden and supposed 
to cover the remains of Brochwel Yscythrog, was meant to commemorate the interment of Rhain. 

" Of his descendants we have barely the names, until we come to Einon the son of Selyff : from 
whom the Cwmwd was called Cantreff-Selyff, and of him all we know is, that he had one only child, a 
daughter named Elinor, who inter-marrying with Maenarch ap Driffin, united the lines of Brychan and 
Cradoc, and the two districts into which Brecknock had been divided since his death, into one king- 
dom and government. The lives and exploits of these little chieftains or kinglings are now hid in 
impenetrable darkness ; a darkness which there is not the smallest prospect or hope of dispelling, 
further than that from the information of the Concilia by Sir Henry Spelman, we learn, that at a 
Synod held at Llandaff by Gwrvan, the tenth bishop of that diocese (A.D. 897, or as Llewelyn 
Offeiriad, 895), Tydyr the son of Rhain or Rain, king of Brecknock, was excommunicated for homicide 
and perjury, in having slain Elgistl the son of Awst or Augustus, king of Brecknock, his first cousin, 
contrary to his oath, and that he was compelled to make his peace with the church by a considerable 
donation to the see of Llandaff. Here we see that both these chieftains are called kings of Brecknock, 
although their territory was certainly the Cwmwd only. Brecheinog (the other division) was then 
under the government of a descendant of Cradoc Fraich-fras. We also hear, that at an early period, 
this Awst and his sons Eluid and Rhiwallon, probably as a compensation for a similar offence, and 
from motives equally pious, gave to the same bishoprick in the time of Eudaf or Oudoceus, the whole 
territory of Llancors or Llangorse, (called by bishop Godwin, incorrectly, Llancorran), and by another 
grant Llangurvael ; another document, preserved in the Monasticon, states, that Tudor and his son 
Elyssed, Elissai or Elijah, king of Brecknock, were forced into a composition for an affront offered 
to Lybiau, bishop of Llandaff, by a grant of the extensive vill of Llanvihangel-trefcerrian to the same 
church. The nature of this affront was somewhat singular. It seems that the prince was accused of 
leaving the. prelate alone, in his monastery af Llangorse ; having first deprived him of his dinner by 
force of arms. The angry bishop and his family next day left the place, having first hurled a curse 
and perpetual anathema at the head of the royal freebooter, for his impious robbery and the rudeness 
of his conduct, and afterwards he excommunicated him in a full synod of his clergy. For some time 
the bishop was inexorable ; but at length, through the mediation of Lunverth or Lunverd, bishop of 
Saint David's, he was restored into the pale of the church and his atonement accepted. This vill 
is now not known, but it must have been part of Llanvihangel-Cwmdu in Breconshire, or Llanvihangel- 
Crucorney in Monmouthshire ; it is thus described in the ' grant, ' the bounder of the said land is 
from the highway on the South by the thorn bush ; from thence to the river Tanguel, which is from 
the North, and from thence through a river to the East, as far as the well of Chenea ; afterwards 
from the well of Chenea, through the dry valley which leads upwards, as far as the highway which 
is on the South, where it began.' The name of Llanvihangel Tricornel, Crucornel, or Crucorney, 
induces one to suppose this parish to have been the tract granted by Tudor ; on the other hand, if 
by the river Tanguel, the Rhaingoll and the well of Chenea, St. Ceneu's well, are meant, the boundary 


here described seems to fix the granted tract to be Llanvihangel-Cwmdu, formerly perhaps called 
Llanvihangel-tref-y-caerau, from the number of fortifications included in it ; and if so, all the country 
from thence to the Grwyney was conveyed by this document. 

"Asserius Menevensis informs us that Rlised the son of Tewdwr, who joined in and consented to 
this gift of his father, being attacked by the sun-; of Rodri mawr, or Roderick the great, , willingly 
submitted to the government of Alfred. The authority of such an author, living at the time, though 
principally in the court of Alfred, cannot be denied ; but the supremacy of the Saxon monarehs must 
have continued for a very short period; probably no longer than during some squabble between the 
little king of Brecknock and his natural lord paramount, Cadell prince of South Wales. 


" Clydawn succeeded his father in the government of the Western and most mountainous part of 
Brcconshire ; his name is written variously in different MSS Clytgwyn, Clewin, and Kli own, and he 
is, as before observed, said to be the eldest legitimate son of Brychan. It appears by the books 
of Bodeulwyn in Anglesea, in the possession of Evan John Wyn and of Dr. Thomas Williams (both 
written about the year 1578, and referred to in the Bonedd'y Saint) that Clydwyn was a warlike 
prince and conquered all South Wales. With this concise history of his lite and exploits we must 
now be satisfied, and proceed to his son Clydawc, Clitanc, Cledawe, who not having his father's 
talents or fondness for lighting, but being (as Cressy says) a man af peaceful and religious character, 
was for his piety inrolled among the list of British Saints, According to Bonedd y Saint he was 
buried at " Caer' Gledawc yn Lloegr," or Clodock Camp in England; though, why this place should 
be thus described, it is difficult to say, inasmuch as the parish of Clodock is upon the borders of 
Wales and was formerly part of the principality. ' Our martyrology (says Cressy) among other saints of 
his time, commemorates the death and martyrdom of a king of Brecknock in South Wales, of the 
name of Clitanc or Clintanc, on the nineteenth day of August, in the year of Grace 492 ; concerning 
whom we hear that he was a prince very observant of peace and justice among his subjects, and 
that in the end he became a martyr (the natural consequence of such conduct in those days) and 
was adorned with a celestial crown for his virtues and merits, and particularly his chastity and 
purity from carnal delectations ; he was murdered by treason of a certain impious wretch whose name 
is perished with him.' 

"From this brief display of the virtues and merits of Clydawc. it is soon seen that he was not 
likely to strew the land with heroes, or to deck the skies with the same galaxy of Saints as his 
grandfather ; he is therefore followed in the government of his kingdom by his brother, whom the 
MSS. in the Museum have named Neubedd, who is (as wo apprehend) the same person as Llewelin 
OlTeiriad calls Pedita Sant, and who died without issue, according to that pedigree. His almost 
heremitical attention to the duties of religion, makes it likely that he seldom interfered with the 
affairs of this world ; consequently his little kingdom or province was open to the incursions of any 
rapacious freebooter or impious chieftain who chose to attack it. Dyfnwal, who is placed as the 
successor of Tydyr ap Neubedd, seems to have been a person of this description, but there appears 
to be some confusion here, as has been before observed ; the MSS. having mistaken Tydyr ap 
Neubedd, who is said to have lived at Crwceas near Brecknock, for Tydyr ap Teithwalch the bene- 
factor to the church at Llandaff, who lived many ages prior to this time. Some call Dyfnwal 
a Pictish or Caledonian prince, who wholly exterminated the race of Clydwyn and assumed the 
sovereignty: if this account is correct, one' or both of the holy cousins of Cradoc Fraich-fras, seeing 
their subjects plundered and harrassed by a motley horde of barbarians, making continual irruptions 
from England, may, in conjunction with the descendants of Drem-Dremrudd, have requested his 
assistance to drive the successful invader from their territories and promised him a division of Breck- 
nockshire as his reward. 

'•There are various reasons for supposing this to have been the case. We have seen that accord- 
ing to Llewelyn Offeiriad, upon the death of the two brothers just named, the descent of Brychan 
in their line "ended. Cradoc, though not what would now he called the heir at law to his cousin's 
property, was maternally as nearly related in blood as any other person, and he from his valour, 
was most likely in those boisterous times to defend and protect his subjects, when possession was 
acquired. According to the Harleian papers, there were five reguli from Brychan to Dyfnwal, all of 
whom must have died in the life time of Cradoc, and before the time assigned for his conquest of 
Brecknockshire, or rather the Western or mountainous part of that country ; for we see the race of 


Dreni or Rhain retaining their possessions, at a time when it has been erroneously supposed an enemy 
was at their doors, and when he must even have marched through the heart of their territories to 
attack a neighbour, with wliom they were connected and endeared by an identity of language, of 
interest, of habits, and of disposition. Many arguments might be adduced to prove that Cradoc 
Fraich-f'ras was brought into Breconshire by the general consent, if not by the invitation of the 
inhabitants, at that time suffering under the oppression of an usurper, whose defeat about the latter 
end of the sixth century, conferred upon his competitor the government of that part of the country 
over which he ruled ; but as the elucidation of this question is not now absolutely required, and 
as the interests of his descendants is not likely to be injured or benefited by its discussion at this 
present moment, it may as well be permitted to sleep, and therefore without further examination of 
his right we shall proceed to introduce him for a few minutes to the reader's acquaintance." 

"/^g? ~<^N 


From Cradoc Fraich-fras, to the Conquest of Brecknockshire by Bernard Newmarch in 1092. 

<• /TJAD<)( ■ Fraich-fras, or Cradoc of the mighty arm, was, as we have just seen, a grandson of 
\^t Brychan, and in right of his father, lord of Gloucester, a contemporary with king Arthur, 
one of the knights of his round table and lord keeper of y Castell dolurus, or the dolorous 
tower. To relieve the reader from any impression which this romantic description may produce, and 
to chase away the imaginary giants and dragons which perchance may present themselves to his 
mind's eye it is necessary to be observed here, in plain English this dolorous tower was nothing 
more than a dungeon, where prisoners of war or traitors to the state were confined, and our great 
hero was neither greater or less than the chief gaoler or head turnkey. This officer has been since 
denominated constable of the keep. In antienf MSS. we hear of another Cradoc Fraich-fras, who was 
styled earl of Hereford, and lived in the reign of Hywel Dda ; he was a son of Ceiliog Mwyngrydd 
and ancestor of Tydyr Trevor: of this earl, though considerably later in point of time, we know 
nothing but his name. Upon the history of the hero of Brecknock, the romantic age in which he 
lived, and the wonderful stories recorded of him by romancers of more modern date, have certainly 
stamped so strongly the appearance of fable, that serious persons are apt to he incredulous, and 
some indeed among writers of repute, have more than doubted his existence in the present character. 
Camden, for instance, as well as Evans in his Drych prif nesoedd seem to think that Caradauc 
Vrichvras (as the former calls him) was the celebrated Caractacus who so gallantly opposed Ostorius ; 
and Lewis in his History nj Britain, supporting this opinion, asserts, that the books of pedi- 
grees have erroneously brought him down six descents too low, affirming him to have been a 
knight of king Arthur's court. 


''The wife of Cradoc Fraich-fras was Tegau Eurfron, a name the definition of which we are at a loss 
to account for. If all the pedigrees were not against us, we should have conceived it ought to he 
written. Teg ei Fron or Fairbosom ; she is said to he the daughter of king Pelynor (perhaps Pyll 
mawr) and was celebrated by the bards as one of the thru' chaste women of Britain, who possessed 
three valuable ornaments, of which she alone was reputed worthy: her knife, her golden goblet, and 
her mantle ; the last was certainly with great propriety esteemed as one of the thirteen curiosities 
of tin' island of Britain. It would not fit, nor could it be worn by any but a chaste woman!!! 
Percy, in his Reliques of Antient Poetry, has a long ballad or tale in rhyme upon this subject, which 
has little to recommend it besides its antiquity. Cradoc had by this wife six sons, Cawrdaf, Hyfaidd, 
Clcddfrudd or rather Cleddeu-rudd (red sword), St. Cadfarch or Cadferth, St. Tangwn, and St. Maethlu 
or St. Amaethhi. Hyfaidd is said to have been lord of Radnor, from him called .Maes Hyfaidd, now 
written and pronounced Maesyfed or Maesyved, according to the English way of spelling. Lewis, in 
his Antient History of Britain, informs us, that 'Radnor is called Maes Hyvaidd from a worthy lord 
thereof, called by Taliesin, Hyvaidd hwyr ae Hwyst, that is. Hyvaidd the bold and active, who lived 
in the time of Ida or Flamddwyn, which Hyvaidd, with Urien Reged and Ceneu the son of Coel 
Godebog, had bloody wars with the said Ida." In a marginal note it is said 'some called him 
Hyvaidd henllyn 1 , i.e., of the old pool'; and it is further added, 'Camden is mistaken in calling 
Old Radnor. Maesyved, which for a thousand years past had no other name than Penycraig, or the 
head of the rock.' A warrior of the name of Hyfaidd hir, or the tall, is celebrated by Aneurin in 
his Gododin : Hyfaidd hir ermygir tra fo Cerddawr — (The praises of Hyfaidd the tall shall be sung 
while a bard exists). 

"Owen says he was the son of Bleiddig or Lupus, who accompanied Oermanus into Britain. 
Hyfaidd was certainly no uncommon name among the antient Britons : but the hero of Aneurin and 
Taliesin was most probably the son of Cradoc Fraich-fras, who as regulus of Fferregs and part of 
Brecknockshire, was enabled to make a suitable provision for his offspring. 

1 Henllyn, a \ 1 in the Wye at Glanwye is now called Llynhen, and may be this place. 


" Gwgan and Cleddeu-rudd sleep with the Capulets ; St. Cadfarch, or Cadverth, at Abereirch ; St. 
Tangwn, at Llangoed, which is dedicated to him ; and St. Amaethlu at Carnedd fawr or the great 
Barrow : both the two last places are in the isle of Anglesea. 

"Cawrda, Cowrda, or Cawrdaf, 1 the eldest son of Cradoc. succeeded bis father in the kingdoms 
or lordships of Fferregs and Brecknock ; in the British Triads he is styled one of the three prime 
youths of Britain, and in an antient MS. p< nes Mr. John Lewis 2 of Lanwenny, quoted by Hugb 
Thomas, 3 be is called ' one of the serai blessed first cousins of Britain I ! !' He left issue Caw 
Cadareh, Cathen, Clydawc, and Medrod ; Clydawc was the father of Gwynawc, the father of Collen, 
to whom Llangollen in Denbighshire (where he was buried) is dedicated. In the church was formerly 
a recumbent figure in alabaster of a churchman, which was vulgarly called St. Collen. ' He has left 
behind him (says Mr Pennant) a legend worthy of the Alcoran itself.' What the particulars of the 
marvel are, we have not been able to learn : his name is not in Cressy's book, nor is that of his 
Welsh uncle St. Dyfnog, the son of Medrod, noticed in that publication. It is by no means improbable 
that the church of Devynnock, in Brecknockshire, is consecrated to the memory of the latter Saint 
notwithstanding the parish wake was held in honour of St. Cynog ; a parallel case will 
be found in Llangeney, where the feast is upon Gwyl Gyrig, though the old church was without 
doubt St. Ceneu's. Pennant speaks of Pfynnon Dyfnog in the neighbourhood of Denbigh: 'it is a 
fine spring, dedicated to St. Dyfnog, one of our long pedigreed Saint- ; ' it was formerly resorted to 
by many votaries. The fountain, he says, is inclosed in an angular wall, decorated with small human 
figures, and just before them is the well for the use of the pious bathers. 

''To Cawrdaf succeeded his son, who was followed by a long line of descendants, whose exploits 
have neither been preserved by tradition or celebrated by history. The eldest son of Caw was Gloyw, 
whose son was Hoyw, who governed Fferregs about the year of Christ (i-t(). After Hoyw came his 
son Cynfarch, who lived about 6S0 ; to him again succeeded Cyndeg ap Cynfarch, who was contem- 
porary with Cadwaladr Fendiged or the blessed, with whom closed the imperial dignity of Britain, 
in the year 703, that prince having in the weakness of superstition and fanaticism abdicated his 
throne, and taken shelter at Rome. 


" Teithwalch the son of Cyndeg, upon the death of his father, assumed the government of Fferregs 
and Bryeheiniog, which however he was not long able to preserve entire, or at least he was not 
completely successful in driving an invading enemy out of his territories. Rodri Molwynog was at this 
time prince of North Wales, during whose reign the Mercian prince Ethelbald, king of Mereia. tempted 
by the appearance of the fertile plains of Fferregs, invaded that country and proceeded with devas- 
tation in his train, through Brecheiniog and the Cwmwd, even to the very border-; of upper Gwent ; 
where being opposed by the Welsh, a bloody battle ensued, at a place called Carno, 4 in the parish 
of I.langattock. near Crickhowell, in Breconshire : but though the Saxons received a check here, and 
much blood was shed on both sides, the victory was doubtful. It seems however to have prevented 
the enemy from penetrating further into the country at this time, and to have compelled him to 
retrace his route, to retire into Herefordshire, and afterwards to return to his own dominions. Several 
battles followed between the Britons and Saxons in the country then called Fferregs, in one of which 
the former, it is said, lost a distinguished chieftain, named Dyfnwal ap Tydyr. 

"Teithwalch was succeeded by his son Tegyd, who lived during the reign of Cynan Tyndaethwv, 
prince of North Wales. The ambitious designs of Mereia, which indeed apparently slumbered but 

1 Quaere, if Llanwrda in Carmarthenshire is not derived from county, was formerly called Llanwenny. Lewis, who wrote the 
him, and whether it is not a corruption of Llangawrdaf. antient history of Britain was of tins family : he was a barrister, 

- An ancestor of the late Mr. Lewis .if Harpton in Ftad ami pracl I in the court oi the president ami council of the 

norshire. The parish of Llanvihangel nant melan in that marches oi Wales. 

3 Harl. Coll. No. (is:{2. 

4 Tradition has established tins lull as the place where the battle was fought, otherwise Carno is by no means sufficient to 
ascertain its locality; tor we find several mountains of this nam.-, both in North and South Wales, in Cradoc of Llancarvan's 
History of Wales. By Cain or Carnedd, Carno, Carnau or Carneddau, i- meant a heap or heaps of stones. The Carneddau 
(says Owen in Ins dictionary) and the tumuli of earth (or stones) whtere the common monuments hat flu' antient Britons 

erected in lion ■ of their great men; which of the two kind was pr iblj determi I by the soil or stratum of tl mntry 

in which they are found, being stony or otherwise; thesi modes oi interment continued in use many aL'es after the intro 
duction of Christianity, but when the custom of buryin in churches and church-yards became general, they were not only dis- 
used hut condemned, as tit only for great criminals. When the ('amo.l.l wa- eon-Moved as the honourable tomb of a 

warrior, every passenger threw Ins additional ston it of reverence to his memory. When tins heap came to be disgraced, by 

being the mark where the guilty was laid, the same oust, an still continued, but now in token of detestation. These early heaps 
then, having been generally raised to the memory of those warriors who fell in battle, frequently gave names to spots, 
which before were not distinguished by any particular appellation ; as, Mynydd y Carno or rather Carnau, the hill or 
mountain of barrows or tuinuli. 


never slept, were now renewed witli increased violence under Offa, who entered heartily into t ho depre- 
dating schemes of Ins predecessor Ethelbald. Scarcely a. day passed without some attempts to harass 
the unfortunate Werlisians. The Welsh rinding that forbearance on their part only served to increase 
the confidence and invite the attacks of the enemy, resolved at length upon a hloodv retaliation. 
Hitherto their system hail been merely defensive, hut now rising i n masse, they suddenly entered 
Mercia, and having laid waste all before them, obliged the enemy, after a dreadful carnage, to retreat 
beyond the Severn, ami returned home laden with plunder and spoils. 'Fierce Offa and the Saxons 
lied before them.' 

" Encouraged by this success, and animated with the hopes of further booty, they repeated their 
incursions and compelled their cruel and inveterate enemy to tremble in his turn. Offa, being thus 
not only baffled in his designs against Fferregs, hut alarmed lor the safety of his kingdom, called in 
the assistance of other Saxon princes, and with a. strongly confederated army entered Wales. The 
Britons being far outnumbered by the invader, retired to the mountains upon their approach, driving 
before them their cattle and carrying with theiu their effects; so that the Saxons were obliged to 
retreat into England, probably for want of provisions, though the cause is not expressly assigned by 


"In order to curb the restless spirit of the Britons, as he was pleased to term it, Offa during this 
expedition placed a strong colony of Saxons in Fferregs, who in their own defence were compelled to 
resist and prevent the incursions of the inhabitants of the principality into the English borders; and 
the better to ascertain the boundary of the tun countries, he formed the well known dyke which bears 
his name, and which, even as late as the reign of Edward the Confessor, was regarded as the dis- 
criminating line between England and Wales : for by a law of Earl Harold it was ordained, that if 
any Welshman coming into England without license, should he taken on thai side of Offa's dyke, his 
right hand should be cut oil' by the king's officer. It extended from Flintshire in North Wales, to the 
mouth of the river Wye near Chepstow, or as some say, Tydeiihain passage in Gloucestershire. The 
tradition of the inhabitants of Ystradyw and the adjacent part of .Monmouthshire, carries it over one 
side of the Sugar Loaf; if so, Penclawdd, or the head of the ditch, in .Monmouthshire was upon 
Offa's Dyke, but .Mr Coxe thinks it to have been the site of an old Roman road. The boundary 
just mentioned most probably took a more Eastern direction, through Herefordshire and .Monmouth- 
shire. Pennant observes, that in all parts, the ditch is on the Welsh side, and that there are a great 
number of artificial mounds, the sites of small forts, in many places along its course : these were 
garrisoned and intended for the same purpose as the tower in the famous Chinese wall, to watch the 
motions of the neighbours and to repel hostile incursions. The remains of this useless work of labour 
and expence are very visible in several places in North Wales, and on a hill three miles West of 
Knighton in Radnorshire, through which town, called Tref y clawdd commonly Treclodd, or the town 
of thi' ditch, it evidently passed; but from thence Southward it can only be traced by conjecture. 
This encroachment upon their limits considerably distressed the Welsh upon the borders, and com- 
pelled the princes of Powis to remove the seat of government fo Marthrafael. Hereford, then called 
Fferregs, and the town. Caerffawydd, or Beech-chester, was no longer subject to the reguli of Fferregs, 
and Hugh Thomas 1 says, that 'from hence forwards their capitol was transferred to Brecknock,' 
meaning, we presume, some place in the county of Brecknock ; as it does not appear that the town was 
built until more than three centuries after this time. 


" Tangwydd ap Tegyd succeeded only to the possession of that part of Fferregs which is now called 
Radnorshire, to a small part of Montgomeryshire, and to that portion of Brecknockshire which was 
under his father's government. The names of the cantrefydd or hundreds, of which (his territory was 
composed, in the map now remaining of it, are so disfigured by mistakes in spelling, as to become 
unintelligible even to a Welsh reader, and would appear particularly uncouth to an English eye. The 
Britons thus circumscribed by boundaries, erected by the power and protected by the forces of their 
adversary, and driven to their mountains, where they were compelled to conceal themselves, smothered 
for some time their vexation and apparently forgot their injuries. Offa vainly flattered himself that 
everything was secure, but the feelings of a brave people, determined to live free or die courageously, 
are not easily suppressed; they only wore the mask of indifference, while in reality they plotted the 
destruction of the obnoxious boundary and the avengement of their undeserved oppressions: for when 
Offa was lulled into a fancied safety and negligent inactivity, unsuspicious of impending danger, and 

1 .MS. Rawl 1220. Bodl. Lib. 7. 


perhaps despising the efforts of a vanquished and. as he supposed, desponding foe, they suddenly arose 
and having levelled the rampart and filled the clitch. attacked the unprepared Heptarch in his very 
entrenchments, whence he escaped not without some difficulty. Ofia was at this time encamped at a 
place in Herefordshire, now called Sutton Walls, or Sutton Wallia, about three miles North of Hereford ; 
it was then the royal residence of the Saxon, and was situate on the top of a hill, the summit of 
which is level, and estimated to contain about thirty acres of land, fenced round with a continued 
rampart of earth, except on the North and South sides, where there seems to have been roads into 
it. In the middle of this area is a hollow or a low place, which the people in the neighbourhood 
now call the cellar, and sometimes Offa's cellar : a few years ago, in digging here a silver ring was 
found of antique form. Here the dark and villainous murder of Ethelbert king of the East Angles 
was contrived and executed by Offa and his infamous queen, Quendreda or Quendrida ; 

Sutton acres drench'd with royal blooil 
Of Ethelbert. when to th* unhallowed feast 
Of Mercian Offa he invited came, 
To treat of spousals ; long connubial joys 
He promised to himself, allured by fair 
Elfrida's beauty, but deluded died 
In height of hopes : Oh hardest fate to fall 
By shew of friendship and pretended love. 


Offa, indeed, was a strange mixture of great talents and valour with most infamous vices ana un- 
relenting ferocity. William of Malmsbury thus describes him : ' King Offa was a man of mighty courage 
and magnanimity, who resolutely undertook whatever he once conceived in his mind; he reigned thirty- 
nine years. When I consider his exploits, which were various in their nature and of different kinds. 
I am in doubt whether 1 should reckon him among the good or evil kings, as there was such an 
interchangeable vicissitude in him of virtues and vices : he was like Proteus, his form and features 
ever changing.' Cressy calls him, a noble and illustrious king, and because he made a pilgrimage to 
Rome and founded the monastery of St. Alban's, he conceals most, and forgives him the remainder 
of his crimes. 

" Mortified beyond measure at his late discomfiture at Sutton, as well as by previous disappoint- 
ments, the bloody Mercian despot wreaked his vengeance upon some unfortunate hostages whom the 
chance of war had thrown into his power ; these he sacrificed to his fury without mercy, and the 
conflict between him and the Britons was again renewed with increasing rancour. But though many 
engagements ensued between the contending parties, no material advantage was gained on either side 
till the fatal battle of (a.d. 796) Morfa Rhuddlan or Rhuddlun marsh, in the vale of Clwyd in 
Flintshire, where the confederated Welsh were totally defeated and their leader slain. Bishop Gibson, 
upon the authority of a MS. in the Hengwrt collection, asserts, that Meredydd king of Dyfed, and 
Offa himself, fell in this engagement, but other authors speak differently. Stowe says he died, after 
a reign of thirty-nine years, at Offley, and was buried in a chapel on the banks of the river Ouse. 
Camden likewise quotes Florilegus, who asserts that Offa made choice of Bedford for the place of his 
interment, but that the river Ouse being once more rapid, and rising higher than ordinary, swept 
away his monument. This is confirmed by Matthew Paris, who, speaking of the battle of Rhuddlan, 
stamps the character of this prince with eternal infamy ; for he informs us, that in cold blood, he 
gave orders that every man and child who had been taken prisoners should be indiscriminately 
massacred, and scarcely did even the weaker sex escape his fury 1 . The memory of this tragic event 
has been transmitted to posterity by an antient Welsh tune called Morfa Rhuddlan. There is some- 
thing so peculiarly plaintive and elegiac in the notes of this composition, that we cannot resist the 
temptation of inserting it, and to prove how well the sound conveys the language and sentiments of 
the bard upon this disastrous event, we need only mention, that when it was first played upon the 
harp to the late Colonel Chabbert (a Swiss gentleman, who came to reside in Breconshire) it brought 
tears into his eyes while he observed that he was sure it commemorated the defeat of a great 
army 2 . 


" Anharawd followed his father Tangwydd as regulus of Radnor and the lower part of Builth only, 
though Hugh Thomas calls him lord of Fferregs and Brecon. At this time (a.d. 819) Merfyn-frych 
and Essyllt governed North Wales : they were succeeded in the year 843 by Roderick the great, eldest 

1 Offchurch in Warwickshire, Offington in Sussex, and Offley Snowdon. Tlu's key seems to be much better suited to 
m Staffordshire, preserve the memory of this royal Saint. the subject than that in which it is given by Jones. It is set 

2 The original words are lost : those now adapted to the time by the late celebrated blind Parry Vide, tiie music after the 
are versified from a fragment published in the letters from next page. 


son of Mervyn, who marrying Angharad the heiress of South Wales, brought the whole of the princi- 
pality under his dominion. During this period, Wales suffered greatly by the incursions of Egbert 
king of the West Saxons, who having conquered Mercia and finally united the Saxon beptarchy into 
one kingdom, soon reduced the little princes of South Wales, then the confederates of the Danes, to 
the condition of tributaries. However, those troublesome foreign hornets found him and his successors 
such full employ for some years, that the Welsh were relieved from their visits and permitted to 
return to the old practice of cutting each other's throats; to which for centuries they never failed to 
resort in times of peace with England. In pursuance of this inveterate habit we find that about the 
year 846, according to the Brut y Tywysogion, a quarrel arose between [the! king of Gwent, and the 
regulus or reguli of Brecknockshire. The cause of the dispute is not known; probably it was about 
the bounds between Brecknockshire and Monmouthshire, hut thus much we know, that Ithel having 
attacked the men of Brecknock was defeated and slain, and the. mighty horribly perjured long haired 
(hcentians 1 were compelled to take to their heels. 


" Gwngy, Gwngydd, Gwendidor Gwendydd ap Anharawd (lor we find him by these four different nanus 
in pedigrees) appears as the next regulus of Brecheiniog and what remained of Fferregs. In some MSS. 
he is called the son of Nes, the son of Hoyw, hut Llewelyn Offeiriad says, he was tin- son of 
Anharawd; he was contemporary with Anharawd, Cadell and .Mervyn, the sons of Rodri mawr or the 
great, who by his will divided the principality among them and built a for each. Cadell, the 
son to whose lot South Wales fell, lived at Dinevor or Dinasfawr in Carmarthenshire ; lie had also a 
palace at Llyswen in Brecknockshire, anil perhaps at Caerau, in the upper part of the hundred of 
Builth in the same county. The princes of South Wales were tributaries to the princes of North 
Wales, and paid them the annual sum of £63 which was called Maelged. The royal tribute due from 
the principality at large to the imperial crown of London, as ordained by the constitutions of Dyfnwal 
Moel-miid, was called Teyrnged ; by the first is meant a military, and by the latter a political con- 
tribution or tax, the one for the defence, and the other for the support and maintenance of the 
government of the whole kingdom. 

"The territories of Fferregs had by this time suffered a material diminution, and the greatest part 
of them were then in subjection to the Saxon power. Even Brecknockshire, from the destructive 
operation of the law of gavelkind, that universal leveller of British property, was frequently divided 
and subdivided into numerous portions and lordships, the little chieftain or head of each of which 
exercised an almost despotic power over his clan or family, at the same time that they professed to 
pay a kind of anomalous obedience to the prince of South Wales. 


" About the year 896, the Danes, according to Powel, being defeated by Alfred, left their wives, 
their children and effects in Essex, and so passed overland to Enadbryge upon the Severn, and then 
passing the river spoiled the county of Brecknock, Gwentland and Gwentllwg Srnollet says they 
were pursued by Alfred as far as Quatbridge ; and Hume, that they fled to Quatford, where they were 
finally broken and subdued : the chronicle of Cradoc of Lancarvan, which Powel professes to follow, 
takes notice of their route, but makes these invaders to he Normans: 'Deng mlynedd a phedwar 
ugain mlynedd ac wyth cant oedd oed Crist, pan fu farw Swbin y doethaf o'r Scottiaid, etc., ac yno 
y diffeithiawd y Normaniaid Lloegr a Brecheiniog, a Morganwg a Gwent a Buallt Gwnllwc,' i.e., in the 
year of Christ 890 died Swbin the wisest of the Scotch nation. — and then were England, and Breck- 
nock, and Glamorgan, and Builth. and 2 Gwentllwg ravaged by the Normans. 3 From whence 
Srnollet or Hume derive their information, as to the retreat of the Danes, is not stated by either 
of these authors. 4 Quatford or Quatbridge is a small village in Shropshire."' upon the banks of 
the Severn, about two miles below Bridgenorth : it seems to lie highly probable that this vvas the line 
of their march, or rather of their flight, for as their attack is said to have been first on Brecknock 

1 Taliesin in his poem upon the battle of Garant under Ynyr, either from their standard, the raven, or the colour of their armour, 
prince of Gwentland. describes the inhabitants of that district * .Mr Turner, in his History o) the Anglo Saxons, quotes 
as being remarkable for their lone hair and perfidious conduct ; Florentius of Worcester and tin- Saxon chronicle for tin- irrup- 
" mawr erch anudon, Gwenywvs gwallt hirion." Perhaps it tion, and says, they settled at Bridgenorth, where he informs us 
would be more in the spirit of the original, to translate anudon they were permitted (after having raised intrenehments in their 
here by faithless, or regaidless of treaties; literally it means flight, which resisted the power of Allied) to pass the winter 
perjured. unmolested. The British account of their ravaging Wales, and 

2 The word "and" so necessary to complete the sentence their dispersion or perhaps embarkation on the Western coasts 
(in Welsh " a ") is here accidently omitted in the original of the principality, appears in on to be more likely to l»- correct. 

3 In another part of this passage, which we did not think 5 Stowe calls this place Quatbridge, and Speed Cartbridge 
necessary to follow, they are called y Normaniaid duon, the black upon Severn ; both these historians make the Danes return from 
Normans. The Welsh always called the Danes the black army thence into England, instead of crossing the Severn inti Wales. 


and then on Glamorganshire and Gwent or Monmouthshire, it is clear they could not have crossed 
the Severn much lower down than the confines of Shropshire, or their irruption would have been first 
into Herefordshire or Monmouthshire. From Quatford they must have proceeded to Ludlow and from 
thence along the borders of Radnorshire and Herefordshire, towards Hay in Brecknockshire, where, or 
soon afterwards, separating, one division of these depredators proceeded up the vale of Wye, through 
Builth, into tin- vale of Ystradtowy in Caermarthenshire, and from thence into Caerdiganshire, while 
the other party laid waste the vale of Usk, and entered Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire, destroy- 
ing the habitation and carrying away with them the effects of the inhabitants. In ill! the Danes 
again made an unsuccessful attack on South Wales, when they were compelled, as Powell says, to 
make the best of their way into Ireland. 


"The successor of Gwngy is called by John de Castores, Huganus, who describes him as a prince 
of West Wales, but all our pedigrees make him prince or lord of Brecknock, though they differ as to 
his name ; some write it Kydd, others Ky and Gy, and others Guy and Hudd. His reign com- 
menced about the latter end of the ninth, or very early in the tenth century ; soon after which, 
finding Edward the elder fully employed in expelling the incursions of the Danes, he seized, as he 
thought, the favourable opportunity of revenging the many insults that had been offered to his 
country, and recovering by well timed exertions, the possessions which had been wrested from his 
ancestors. With the strongest levy he could muster he passed the Saxon boundary and commenced 
hostilities, but here he met with an unexpected cheek from the Mercian Elfieda or Ethelfleda. This 
heroine was the wife, and afterwards the widow of Ethelfred, earl of Mercia, daughter to Alfred the 
great and sister to the Saxon monarch Edward : from her masculine talents and military exploits, she 
was generally called King. In the year 914, according to Powel, (although Cradoc says Edelfled died 
in 910, 1 and makes no mention of her expedition and victories in Wales), she entered into that 
country at the head of a powerful army and meeting with Huganus upon the borders, a severe 
engagement ensued, in which he was not only defeated by this Amazon, but followed up so closely, 
that his castle of Brecenanmere was taken by storm, and his princess or queen, as she is sometimes 
called, with thirty-four of her attendants, sent prisoners into Mercia. This battle in Welsh is called 
Gwaith y Ddinas newydd, or the battle of the new city. It is difficult to ascertain the site of this 
ancient fortress, whether it be denominated Brecenanmere or Dinas newydd. Camden doubts whether 
it was Brecknock or Castell y Dinas on a steep tapering rock above the lake: a note in Rapin, quoting 
the Saxon annals, and H. Huntingdon says, she took Brecenanmere, supposed to be Brecknock : 
against this, however there is an insurmountable objection, which is, that Brecknock castle certainly, 
and probably the town, was not built until near two hundred years after this period. The conjecture 
of Camden is equally unfortunate as to Castell y Dinas, which is not situate, as he describes it, upon 
a high hill near the lake, but at a considerable distance from it, and separated from Llangorse lake 
by an intervening range of mountains ; besides, that portion of Brecknockshire in which Castell y 
Dinas is situate, was then in the possession of the descendants of Drem Drem-rudd or Rhain and 
not of Huganus. The castle of Blanllyfni, therefore, seems to have the best claim to be considered 
as the residence of the lady and her attendants; for this is placed at the head of the lake of Llyn- 
savaddan or Brecknock mere. This castle being most probably described by the earliest historians 
as built near a lake, was stilted by the first transcriber or perhaps translator who recorded this event 
in the English language, as ' the castle of or near to Brecknock or Brecon mere, afterwards corrupted 
into Brecenanmere. ' - 


"Hwgan being thus disconcerted in his projects, and disgraced in his arms, flea to Derby, where he 
joined the Danes, who cordially received and tendered him their assistance: supported by his new 
friends, he prepared for a recommencement of hostilities, but all his attempts to elucie the vigilance 
or resist the good fortune of Elfleda were vain. With incredible activity she hastened with her 
victorious army and pursued her defeated foe to his rallying place ; here, before he was enabled to 
complete his schemes, she laid close siege to the town, and though Hwgan on the other side was not 
idle, and though he encouraged the garrison both by exhortation and example to make a spirited 
defence, yet after a trifling advantage, I lie gates of the city were set on fire by Gwaine lord of Ely, 
steward to Elffleda, and after a vigorous attack, possession was taken of the citadel by the assailants. 
Hwgan. perceiving that every thing was irrecoverably lost, determined to die bravely, rather than 
surrender himself dishonourably to a woman ; he therefore rushed furiously into the heat of the battle, 
and fell covered with innumerable wounds. 

1 Stoue places her death in 919. and Speed in 912. llyfni, which was likewise in the Cwmwd ; but we know nut where 

- An objection, similar to the last mentioned, lies to Blan- else to find a homo for Hwgan's queen. 



" His son Dryffin, sometimes called Sir Dryffin and Dyfnwal, succeeded to his father's governmenl 
and soon experienced nearly similar misfortunes: 'of manners gentle ami affections mild, 1 the 
emollient arts of peace were more congenial with his mind, than the din of anus or the hustle of a 
camp. Imperious necessity, however, often compelled him to take the field, though his whole life was 
a continued series of mortification and losses. In his time, Athelstan king of England, having 
triumphed over the Danes and Scots, whom he repeatedly defeated in several pitched battles, marched 
with an army into Wales: this, according to Towel, was in the year 933, hut Cradoc's Chronicle says, 
Athelstan died in 930, and no notice is there taken of this irruption. Towel however proceeds to 
inform us. that he forced the princes of the adjoining and neighbouring countries to pay him a 
tribute of twenty pounds in gold, three hundred in silver, and two hundred head of cattle ; this 
tribute is mentioned in the Brornpton Chronicle, lad there the number of cattle is doubled. 


" The celebrated Welsh legislator, 'Hywel Dda, or the good, had now, upon the death of his 
cousin Kdwal Foci or the bald, the son of Anharawd, once more united the principality of Wales 
under one leader. Whether he obtained this dignity solely by the efforts of ambition, or was called 
to it by the voice of the people, or whether great talents for government occasionally interrupted the 
succession in these disorderly days, is not clear : certain it is, that the sons of the late prince of 
North Wales were superseded without any opposition. Whatever the means were by which Hywel 
obtained the sovereignty, his early and vigilant attention to tin' common weal and the mild tenor 
of his government, must, in some measure, palliate, though it may not altogether vindicate an act 
of injustice, if such it was. His code of laws, however whimsical and unaccountable some of them 
now appear, collected from the most antient records 2 and grounded upon the well known and best 
received customs of his nation, must ever remain a stupendous monument of his wisdom and dis- 
crimination, at the same time that his upright and impartial administration of those laws justly 
intitle him to the appellation of the good. 


"About the year 944, he made a general survey of the principality, 3 dividing the whole into 
grand and petty districts: in this division, Brecknock formed four cantreds or hundreds, Cantreff- 
mawr, Cantreff-Tewdos, Cantreff-Eudaf and Cantreff-Selyff ; these were again divided into Owmwds, 
Cymydau or smaller jurisdictions: Cantreff-mawr contained Cwmwd Llywel and Cwmwd Dyffryn 
Honddu, Cantreff-Tewdos, Cwmwd y Gelly and Cwmwd Glynbwch, Cantreff-Selyff, Cwmwd Brwynllys 
anil Cwmwd Talgarth, and Cantreff-Eudaf, Cwmwd Tyr Ralph, Cwmwd Ystradyw, CwmwH Crughywel 
and Cwmwd Ewyas. Sir John Pryce in his description of Wales, divides Brecknockshire into Cantreff- 
Selyff, Cantreff-canol and Cantreff-mawr ; his subdivisions are evidently erroneous and almost unin- 
telligible. Hay. Talgarth. Builth and Llangorse are placed within tic Owmwds of Tyr Ralph Llywel 
and Cerrig Howell, but in which of them is not stated; it i, however perfectly iai material ; as the 
town of Hay or Gelli (as it is there called) was certainly not in either of them and Builth was at 
that time part of another province. 

Prom this survey of Hywel, we see clearly that Crickhowel or Ystradyw and the county adjacent 
was at that time considered as part of Brecknockshire, though he does not hesitate to acknowledge 

ed in Brecon {Liber Limi- 
ted Pater or Padarn, who 
id .lira 901. Crickhuwell 

irgan [Liher Llandavensis, 
n . ■' Know all Christians 
of Glamorgan 

ill I (upper 

■I. -i .li. Hi- I. 

1. Be ii like- 
1 Morgan Hon 


i Howel the Good is said to have Ii' 
davtnsis, page 4771. and with him resi 

beca Bishop of Llandafi in 943 a 

was sometimes estee it part oi Glan 

page 512) ami in the Diocese of Llandi 
that their are seven Cantrefs in tin 

nf which the seventh is Cantref < !w 
Gwent), Ystradyw (Crickhowell). and Ewvas 
which both are called tin' sleeves ol I (went in 
wise known to you that Edgar and Hvwel dd 

Itl Id | \oav Kings .it all Britain, and those two were 

subject to King Edgar. Morgan the Old enjoved the whole of 
Glamorgan in peace, but Hvwel dda would take from him 

Ystradyw (Crickhowell) and*Ewyas if h ulcl. which being 

made known King Edgar called Hywel dda and Morgan Hen 
and Ins son Owain and examined between the two. and it was 
found that Hywel dda had acted wrongfulh against Morgan 
ll'ii and his son Owain, and Hywel dda was deprived oi those 
two districts Ewyas and Ystradyw (Crickhowell) for ever After 
wards King Edgar gave to Owain the son oi Morgan Hen the 
two districts of Ystradyw ami Ewyas declared by nam-' to I"' 
in the diocese of Llandaff, as his own proper inheritance." 
Hywel, however, died before Edgar came to the throne ; it was 

Ins son ami successor Owain who intruded into the dominion 
of Morgan the aged. The incident is said to have taken place 
A.D. 95S 

- Lord Lyttleton (who thought contemptuously of these laws) 
intimated, that from th" entire agreement of several of them 

with these oi ilie Sa\..ns. tine wer asionallv borrowed fi 

the latter. Life of H. 2. i . :''. p :::::: But without am feai ol 
being charged with prej 

atation in 

th n 

II -. 

■i - 

il,-,, I people 

rii] vanit v, we have no 
time, the Welsh were a 

than the Saxons ; tins 
rman pirate born iwed 

.mans, than the latter 
ses the Le •■- Sa s micse 
iders were indebted for 
il the * '< mfessi >r, " \ iay 
ljumtinih, and Alfred's 


lonks therefore were undoubtedh the a 


if the Saxon laws, while those i 1 Hvwel t| 

lough hi 

■,.i le 1 liimself oi the assistan f the lea 

l'lie.1 Of 

ei s ed in many instances the in inners, m 


if early times, and of the artless children oi 

Nil .11'. 

3 Hail. MSS. No. 6108, p. 55. Ibid. No. 



day) pi 


the spiritual jurisdiction of the see of Llandaff over it, for he calls it CantreS-Eudaff or Oudoceus's 
hundred : it is also equally evident that Hywel and his tributary princes or lords governed this tract 
at the time of the survey ; and history as well as tradition has confirmed their right, which has been 
incontrovertibly established by their possession of it, for ages long prior and subsequent to this period. 

" The small remains of Fferregs, which has long been gradually decreasing as well from violence 
as by partition, were at length torn from the unfortunate Dyrffin by the arms of Elystan sirnamed 
Glodrydd, or Athelstan the famous or praiseworthy. The memory of this hero, as well as his con- 
quests of this country, is preserved only in antient British MSS. ; but both are so familiar to a Welsh- 
man, that to doubt of the existence of the man, or to cavil at the relation of his exploits, would bo 
downright infidelity. This adventurer then (for such he is generally supposed to be, though some 
make him the legitimate lord of the greatest part of Fferregs) was the son of Cynhyllyn lord of 
Melenydd and Builth, who was the son of Ivor or Mor, the son of Severus, the son of Cador Wenwyn, 
the son of Cadvan, the son of Owain, the son of Idnerth, the son of lorwerth Hirflawdd, the son of 
Treganwy, the son of Teon, the son of Gwineudau-freiddawd king of Alban or Scotland, by Arianwen 
or silvery-white, the daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog. Elystan was born at Hereford, then called 
Caer-ffawydd or Beech-ehester, in the second year of the reign of Athelstan king of England, who it 
is said was his godfather and from whom he received his name ; though the Saxon monarch proved 
a merciless sponser, invading his godson's dominions, laying his country waste with fire and sword, 
and imposing, as has been seen, a tribute upon him and his subjects. Elystan Glodrydd was slain 
in a civil broil at Cefn-di-goll in Montgomeryshire, the precise time of his death cannot be ascer- 
tained. He is said in some pedigrees to be alive in the time of Aeddan ap Blegored in the year 1010, 
at which period, if he was born in 027, (the second year of his godfather's reign) he must have been 
eighty-three years of age. He had issue Cadwgan, 1 to whom he gave Radnorshire and the greatest 
part of the hundred of Builth, and from him the male line continues to the present day, as will be 
seen when we come to the family of the Lloyds of Rhosferig or Rhos-Fferregs ; to his second son 
Morgeneu he gave his possessions in North Wales bordering on Radnorshire and to his other sons, 
different parcels of his territories, thus laying a certain foundation for domestic disputes and family 
squabbles, and of course, furnishing an irresistible temptation to the neighbouring plunderers, to dis- 
member his ill-gotten kingdom in the same manner as he had wrested it from the unfortunate Dryffin. 


" During the government of this regulus, Brecknockshire was invaded by Alfred earl of Mercia : this 
event happened, according to Powel and Warrington, in the year 982, and both of them inform us, 
that the Saxon general destroyed the town of Brecknock ; but the Brut y Tywysogion or Cradoc of 
Lancarvan's chronicle, places this expedition two years sooner, and with more correctness, states that 
the country- of Brecknock, for it is doubtful whether the town was even then built, was laid waste 
by the Saxons. They were soon afterwards defeated by the united forces of Hywel prince of North 
Wales and Einion the son of Owen prince of South Wales ; the latter, a promising young man, met 
with a very ungrateful return from his countrymen : he was treacherously slain by the nobles or 
great men of Gwent, while endeavouring to suppress a commotion, though he seems for that purpose 
to have made use of no other means than argument or intreaties. 

Upon the death of Dryffin, he was succeeded by his son Maenarch or Maenyrch in the govern- 
ment of Brecknockshire. The misfortune of his ancestors, or his own inability to contend with his 
more powerful neighbours, taught him to seek his security in peace : he lived quietly and inoffen- 
sively within his little territory anil instead of embroiling himself in the discord or civil war which 
agitated the minds and desolated the property of his countrymen of that day, he strove only to 
improve and repair the possessions left him. which he considerably enlarged by his marriage with 
Ehnnr daughter of Einion ap Selyff. lord of Cantreff-SelyfE. She was the sixteenth from Brychan 
and sole heiress to her father, who was the fifteenth from Cradoc Fraich-fras : in the issue therefore 
of this marriage flowed the blood of both these princes, and under Maenarch the whole of the present 
county of Brecknock, after an interval of near six hundred years, became at length united and subject 
io tin- control of one man. But this the absurd policy of the times would not long permit to 
continue ; accordingly we find Drymbennog, second son of Dryffin, in possession, not many years after 
the death of his lather, of the sovereignty or lordship of Cantreff-Selyff, and we should in all pro- 

I From him are li Jlj descended the present noble English Cradoe's expression here describes the desolation of a coun'ri/ and 

I'.-iniib ..I Cail.iL':in. not the destruction of a town: his words are " diffeithiawd 

- Whatever merit Powel may generally be entitled to as a Brecheinawc : " diffeithiaw is to convert a cultivated or inclosed 

translator, tin- Welsh reader cannot avoid reprobating the country into a desert or waste, and the termination "awe" 

inattention and inaccuracies observable in liis book ; thus (as before observed) generally implies a region. 


bability have seen the natural ill consequences of such a partition, if the arms and good fortune of 
the Norman invader had not -non afterwards prevailed ; when both these monarchs in miniature were 
reduced to the condition of subjects, if not of slaves, to the conquerors. 


"We now proceed to the last of the British race who won- the trappings of royalty, or exercised 
anything like sovereign power over the land of Brecknock. Bleddin ap Maenarch, soon after the death 
of his lather, married Elinor, daughter of Tewdwr rnawr and sister to Rhys ap Tewdwr prince of 
South Wales. This connection, though dictated by prudence and apparently recommended by sound 
policy, so far from procrastinating his doom, or averting the blow which was meditated against him, 
contributed to accelerate his ruin. His brother in law was an able, a brave, and an active prince, 
but he was the child of misfortune. 

" The history of this illustrious family is too intimately blended with the fate of Bleddin to be 
passed over unnoticed. 

"The princes of South Wales descended from Hywel dda, having been long excluded from their 
rights by the capricious succession of the times, Rhys ap Tewdwr (\.n. 1076) put in his claim and 
was eleeted prince of South Wales by the unanimous voice of his people. According to Vaughan 
of Hengwrt, the immediate territories of this prince were only the present counties of Cardigan and 
Carmarthen; as Pembroke, Brecknock, Gwent and Glewissig, then railed Herefordshire were governed 
by their different reguli, though there is no doubt that they all acknowledged the paramount authority 
of the prince of South Wales. It might reasonably be expected that a title thus founded upon the 
fairest and most honourable basis, the approbation and free choice of his subjects, would have been 
happy and permanent, but the ill-fated Rhys was destined soon to feel "the unstable slightness " 
of popular favour, and to furnish posterity with one more example of the vicissitudes which generally 
attend the fate of princes in a barbarous and half civilized state of society. For a while, he enjoyed 
his sovereignty without disturbance ; at length, however, the sons of Bleddyn 1 ap Cynlin, desirous 
of recovering those right-;, of which they were deprived by the murder of their father and the 
usurpation of Caeradog, suddenly raised an insurrection in South Wales against Rhys, who being 
unprepared to resist such a formidable and unexpected attack, was compelled to retire to Ireland for 
safety. Here he met with a hospitable reception from Sittric 12 king of Dublin, who had married 
Nest, one of his sifters, by whose friend-hip, as well as by promises of liberal rewards, if he should 
succeed, he soon raised a strong army of irishmen anil ^cots, and was enabled once more to set up 

his standard in Wales, where he instantly prepared to assert his rights and n ver hi-- dominions. 

Upon his landing, the capricious multitude, who had a little while before deserted him without a 
cause, now eagerly flocked to him. and pressed forward with ardour in his support, from the scene 
of the battle which afterwards ensued, it should seem a- if he began his march at Aberystwith in 
Cardiganshire, and that Cadwgan, Riryd, and Madoc, his adversaries, were then ravaging, or at least 
tyrannizing, over the territories of his brother in law, Bleddyn ap Maenarch in Brecknockshire, who, 
upon the news of his arrival in the principality, joined him with all the force he could raise. The 
two opposing armies met at a place called by Towel corruptly, Llech y creu, but more correctly, 
Lleehyryd or Llechriri/rl, 3 near the river Wye, in the parish of Disserth in Radnorshire: here 
a bloody conflict followed, which ended in the defeat of the sons of Bleddyn, two of whom were 
slain in the field of battle, from thence forward called Llechryd, from a Cam or Llech thrown up to 

1 Bleddyn ap Cynfin, prince of North Wales anil Powis was with their villain-, cattle, and corn, and uave also silver and cold 
a--a--mated b\ Rhys the son of Owain ap Edwin, and the sufficient to build the church and the whole court." Holinshed 
nobility of Ystradyw. His affability of manners and mild says, Sitric was governor or Kmu' of the Danes in Northumber- 
government had endeared him to his countrymen, but he land, a- well as king of Ireland, about the year 926. He relates 
betrayed their liberties and debased the dignity of his crown by a story of hi- being poisoned by In- wife Beatrice, daughter of 

condescending to r ive it from the hereditary enemy, the Athelstan, king >>f England, for which crime she was punished 

English ; he was the compiler of a code o f laws, and established by Aulafa and Godfrey, his sons, in a very singular manner, "she 

-cine regulations respecting the hards. After his death, hi- was -el naked," says he, "upon a smythe's cold anville, or 

kinsman Trahaern ap Caeradog being supported by the voice stythie, and there with hard rosted eggs being taken foorth of 

of the people, assumed the government to the prejudice of his the hot ymbers, were putte under her arm pitte-. and her armes 

children. fast bound to her bodie with a corde, and so in that state she 

2 Sutric, Sittric, or Sittricus, -en of Awlaf or Clave king of remavned till her hfe pas-ed from her hedi." The Welsh pedigrees 
Dublin, assisted Donagh, first bishop of Dublin, to build the called Sittric the brother in law- of Rhys ap Tewdwr, (q. if the 
cathedral of Christchureh in that city, instituted for regular same as Hulin-hed\- Sittne, Saitrie, K,.ndrie. >.r Wvjini he .. 1 1 , ■ , 1 
canons in the year 1038. The record of the foundation of the in the year 11142 or 1043. 

church gives the following account, " Sittrieus, king of Dublin. 3 In Powel's Edition of Cradoe of Llancarvan, printed in 15S4. 

son of Ablab or Amlave, earl of Dublin, gave to the Holy Trinity this battle is said to have been fought at Llechryd ; Llech y Crue 

and to Donagh, first bishop of Dublin, a place whe--^ the arches or is, a corruption of a later edition, copied over and over a£rain, 

vaults are founded, to build the church of tie- Holy Trinity, by subsequent authors, commentators, annotators, etc. 
together with the lands of Beal, Duleh, Rechere, Port Rahern, 


the memory of Riryd, 1 who fell there. Cadwgan, who escaped with his life, survived to experience 
the vicissitudes of fortune, and to become alternately a prince and an outlaw, the general of an 
army, and the chief of a troop of Banditti. 

" Rhys, thus fully reinstated in his principality, dismissed his Irish and Scotch friends, satisfied 
with the result of the expedition and the recompense made them for their assistance; to some he 
gave lands in Wales, where they became settlers. In this number was Tdio Wyllt, or the wild, earl 
of Desmond, on whom, with the consent of Bleddin, it must be presumed, he bestowed the lordship 
of Llvwel in Brecknockshire. The son of this Idio was named Moreiddig, Warwyn or Whitenape, who 
marrying Catherine the widow of Thomas, lord Lacy of the Golden Vale in Herefordshire, became 
the ancestors of the Parrys of Boston in that county and Llandevailog tre'r graig in Brecknock- 


"The sunshine of peace, which had faintly begun to gleam on the reign of Rhys, was of short 
continuance. Factions raised among his own rebellious and restless nobles, encouraged and supported 
by the court of London, which had long, though hitherto unsuccessfully, plotted the reduction of 
Wales, continually disturbed his mind, and finally ended in his destruction. Llewelyn and Einion, 
sons of Cadifor ap Collwyn lord of Dyved, having, it seems, conceived some disgust against their 
sovereign, entered into a confederacy against him with Griffith ap Meredith, a nobleman of weight 
in his country, whom they prevailed upon to engage in their designs and to assist them in their 
insurrection : thus supported, they marched suddenly to Llandidoch, or according to Warrington, 
Llandudoch or St. Doginaol's in Pembrokeshire, where Rhys then resided, and commenced hostilities 
against him unprepared, as they supposed, for their reception. But experience had now taught him 
to guard against the open attacks, as well as the secret machinations of his enemies, he therefore 
bravely met them in the field, and, after a smart action, entirely defeated these rebels with very 
considerable loss on their side. Griffith was taken prisoner and immediately executed, or as one copy 
of Cradoc of Llancarvan has it, he was made, shorter* by the head. Einion, afterwards notorious 
by the name of Einion Fradwr, or the traitor, fled to Jestin ap Gwrgan lord or prince of Glamorgan, 
who was then at enmity with Rhys ap Tewdwr : this regulus was descended from the antient princes 
of Gwent and Morganwg, and it is said, resided principally at Cardiff. The cause of the quarrel is 
differently related by the chronicles of the times, and must at last remain uncertain ; some attribute 
it to a jealousy entertained by Jestin, who accused Rhys of too great intimacy with his wife. This 
however is improbable, if not absurd; we do not hear that there was ever any intercourse between 
them or their families, and Rhys at this very time was upwards of eighty years of age : it seems 
therefore most likely, that a question about a boundary or a sheep-walk produced the squabble between 
these great and mighty potentates. Be this as it may, it is clear that Jestyn was a most abandoned 
character, dissolute in his morals and oppressive in his government, debauching, either by open 
violence or secret intrigue, the wives and daughters of his neighbours ; yet has this reprobate, for 
some unaccountable reason or other, been considered as one of the progenitors of the five royal 
tribes of Wales, and several of his posterity remain in Glamorganshire to this day, who trace with 
much vanity their descent from him, and boast, as an honour, that the blood of such a scoundrel 
continues to flow in their veins. The court of such a prince was a proper receptacle for traitors : 
accordingly we find that Einion was kindly received and hospitably entertained there by the un- 
principled tyrant of Gwent, who readily entered into all his designs against Rhys and promised him 
his assistance. Too weak, or too timid to meet the veteran warrior in the field with their own 
forces. Einion, whose only passion was revenge and who had abjured his country, suggested an ex- 
pedient which, at the same time that it gratified his ruling passions, and for a short time indulged 
the pride of his protector, ended in the subjugation of his country, and left both dependent upon 

' At Abernant y beddau, or the conflux of the brook of the graves, in Cwmytoiddwr in Radnorshire, about six miles from 
Llechryd are I hree stones, each about one foot high, placed triangularly, concerning which there is the following traditionary distich. 

Ma.- tri hedd tribedo; 

Ar Lannerch dirion feillionog 

Lie claddwyd y tri Chawr mawr o Freehinio 

Owen, Milfydd, a Madog. 

There arc three graves placed triangularly 

Upon a pleasant green, where the trefoil grows. 

Where the three mighty chiefs of (or from) Brecknockshire were 

Owen, Milfydd, and Madoc. 

If Cadwgan had I u slain in this engagement, we should have conceived that Cadwgan, Riryd, and Madoc, were buried where 

these stones were placed, and we are still inclined to think they commemorate the defeat and flight of those three princes, who 
marched from Breconshire to meet Rees ap Tewdwr, and that the lines have been corrupted in the course of time. 

2 From this as well as several other phrases, which occur in that which precedes it, which was extracted from the Llyfr Coch 
the cony of the chronicle of Aberpergwm or Llangrallo, (see o Hergest, or at least, that considerable alterations have been 
Myf. Arch. Vol. -.) we suspect that this MS. is of later date than made to it in a modern hand. 


the mercy and liberality of foreigners, whose language, customs and manners, were widely different 
from those to which the Britons had been long habituated, and to which they were warmly attached. 


'• Einion had been an officer in the English army, had served under the king of England in France 
and other countries, and was a favourite in the court of London; it, was therefore agreed thai he 
should use his interest with some of the Norman nobles to invite them to join with him against 
the prince of South Wales. To reward him for this inestimable kindness, and to stimulate these 
patriotic efforts. .Icstyn promised Einion bis daughter Nest in marriage, together with the lordship 
of Miscin in Glamorganshire as a portion. The task he undertook was not difficult; an adventurer 
of the name of Robert Fitzhammon' readily engaged in the enterprise, and prevailed 
upon several of the Norman chieftains and their followers to accompany him. Aided by the number 
as well as the discipline of these soldiers of fortune, the confederates inarched into the territories 
of Rhys and laid waste all before them with fire and sword, who, upon his part, being soon roused 
by the intelligence he received, and indignant at the injuries his country sustained, once more pre- 
pared to meet the invaders. The two armies encountered each other at a place called Hirwain- 
\Vrgan, a large plain on the confines of Glamorganshire and Breeonshire, on the south western 
boundary of the latter county; here, the good genius of Rhys finally deserted him, and from this 
time little more than a titular sovereignty remained with a few of his descendants. After a bloody 
battle (A.D. 1091) his troops were completely routed, and according to the chronicle last quoted 
he himself was compelled to fly to Glyn Rhodneu 2 in Glamorganshire, where he was overtaken 
and beheaded at a place, from thence called Pen Rhys or Rhys's head. 

" This account, however, of his flight and death will appear extremely improbable, if not in- 
credible, to those who are acquainted with the topography of the country : independent of the 
contradictory statement given by historians of the time and manner of his death. Hirwain-Wrgan, 3 
as has been before observed, is on the south western confines of Breeonshire ; part of this field 
is situate in that county. Glyn-Rhondda is ten or twelve miles eastward of this plain and nearer 
Cardiff : consequently every step which Rhys must have taken in the flight, as here set down, 
brought him nearer to the lion's den. The chronicle of Jeuan of Brechfa says, he was slain in the 
field of battle. George Owen Harry, in his Well Springe of True Nobilitie, says ' he was put to 
flight by Robert Fitzhammon and twelve knights, who came to the aid of Justin ap Gwrgan lord 
of Glamorgan, but after goeinge to aide Bleddin ap Maenareh, his brother-in-law, he was slaine.' 
The tradition of Brecknockshire to which Hugh Thomas gives credit, informs us that the engagement 
between Bleddin ap Maenareh and Rhys on the one side, and the Normans under Bernard Newmarch 
on the other, took place within two or three miles of the present town of Brecknock, where, Thomas 
says, the village and range of hills adjoining the action are still, in remembrance of this said event, 
called Battle, a well within the hamlet. Pen Sir Rhys, or the well of Sir Rhys's head, and the lane 
from Brecon to Battle, Heol y Cymry, or the Welshmen's lane. All this is perfectly correct, as far 
as it relates to the well and the lane ; yet the chapel there, was not so called from this or any 
other battle, but being dependent upon, and a hamlet of the parish of Saint John the Evangelist 
in Brecon, which church and monastery was a cell to Battle in Surrey, this chapel received that 
name in compliment to the religious house to which the mother church appertained. 


" The fact then probably was. that Rhys after his deteat fled to Caerbannau, or as it was soon 
afterwards corruptly called, Caerwong, at that time his brother in law's residence and strong hold, 
and shut himself up with him. In the following year (1092), allured by the success of Robert Fitz- 
hammon and his accomplices, and perhaps invited by them to complete the conquest of the prin- 
cipality, another swarm of freebooters entered into Brecknockshire, commanded by Bernard New- 
march or Bernardus de novo .Mereatu, and played the same game with equal success, though perhaps 
with less colour of right, as Fitzhammon did in Glamorganshire. All historians are agreed as to the 
consequences of this irruption, but none of them have transmitted to us the occurrences which 
preceded the conquest, or attempted minutely to describe the field of battle where the fate of 
Bleddin was decided : on conjecture therefore in a great measure, assisted here and there by a 
glimmering of information from the broken and unconnected records of our meagre chronicles and 

1 The Brut y Tywysogion rails him Cefnderu v Brenliin 3 Hirwaun-Wigan (the long Meadow of Gurgan). Gurgan ab 

Coeh, cousin to the' red haired king, Win Rufus. Myf. Arch. Ithel gave the pi ailed the Long Meadow of Gwrgan to his 

Vol. 2, p. 'AH. poor subjects and to all other Welshmen tor raising corn and 

2 Glyn Rhondda. breeding sheep and cattle. (Genealogy of Kmgs of Glamorgan — 

Idlo MS. page 377). 



MSS., must depend whatever knowledge can now be derived as to the incidents that happened at 
this period. In the copy of Cradoc taken from the Llyfr coch o Hergest, and which as before ob- 
served, seems to be of higher antiquity and more correct than the Aberpergwm MS., it is said, ' Deng 
mlynedd a phedwar ugain a mil oedd oed Crist pan las Rhys ap Tewdwr Brenhin Deheubarth gan 
y Ffrancod a oedd yn preswylio Brecheiniog ' (in the year of Christ 1090, Rhys ap Tewdwr prince 
of South Wales was slain by the Frenchmen, who inhabited Brecknockshire). 1 


" If this account then is to be depended upon, it may be true that the battle in which Rhys 
was slain was fought near the village of that name, yet it was not between him on the one side, and 
Fitzhammon and Einion on the other, but between Bleddin ap Maenarch and Bernard Newmarch : 
after a survey of the ground where this battle is supposed to have taken place, we may perhaps 
be allowed to indulge in an imaginary, though probable description of the encounter. It has been 
just hinted that this expedition of Bernard was concerted between him and Fitzhammon, or at least 
that the success of the latter led to the invasion of Brecknockshire ; in his route therefore from 
England, the conqueror of this county very naturally called upon his countrymen in Glamorganshire, 
who, if they did not join, at least so far assisted him as to point out the road taken by Rhys 
in his flight from Hirwain-Wrgan. Pursuing his steps, the invader came to Caerbannau, which being 
too strongly fortified by nature as well as art to promise success in an attack on the western side, 
it should seem that the Normans made a feint of filing off northward, along a ridge parallel with 
the river Escir, as if they intended proceeding towards the Eppynt hills and the hundred of Builth. 
On the other or eastern side of the river, where the British troops were posted, the lane called Heol 
y Cymri, as far as it bears that name, runs parallel with this supposed march of the Normans. 
Along this lane the Britons proceeded, watching the motions of the enemy, but concealed from them 
by higher ground on the left hand, so that apprehending no opposition, Bernard and his forces 
attempted to cross the Escir through a wood, from this event called Cwmgwern y gad, now corruptly 
Cwmgwingad, or the wood of the vale of the battle, opposite the mansion house of the late Colonel, 
and subsequently, Mrs. Chabbert. Here how ever they were observed by some of the British scouts 
upon the opposite eminence, when the Welsh army pouring down the common between Battle village 
and Mrs. Chabbert 's, must certainly have attacked the enemy to great advantage ; but the discipline 
of the Normans prevailed, the assailants were driven back and in this retreat or flight, tradition 
informs us Rhys lost his head near a well on the common just mentioned, called Ffynnon Pen 
Rhys, or Ffynnon Sir Rhys. The fury of the battle ceased not till the residence of Bleddin was 
attacked on the eastern side, where it was most assailable and where he hiruself, as we learn from 
Hugh Thomas as well as some other MSS., was slain while gallantly defending his life, his 
liberty, and his country against a horde of robbers, who had no pretence or motive for hostilities, 
except a savage and unjustifiable love of plunder, or any argument to support them but the sword. 2 

Thus fell Bleddin ap Maenarch, 3 and with him perished the independence of Brecheiniog as 
a British state or province : from henceforward we shall see it subject to foreign masters and 
governed by strange laws. 

1 The same thing is asserted in the anonymous chronicle in 
Leland " Res films Tewder a Francis qui in Brechinaue habitabant 
occiditur." See also the Brut >/ Sat sm/i in the Myfyrian ArchcBO- 
logy. v. 2, p. 527, which informs 11s. that Rhys was killed by the 
Frenchmen {meaning certainly Normans), who lived in Breck- 

2 A house in the neighbourhood of Battle, called Glywdy is 
generally supposed to have been the station of a British sentinel, 
and tho word to be derived from the watch word, a glywi di ? 
— dost thou hear ? lint however firmly established this defini- 
tion may appear to be. it does not seem well founded ; this 
station must have been in the rear of the British army ; there is 
no eminence or disgwylfa near it, on the contrary, it is situated 
at the foot of a hill. Glywdy therefore, in all probability, is only 

a corruption of Glawdy or Glawty. an outhouse or place to shelter 
cattle, or preserve implements of husbandry from the rain. 

;; Bleddin ap Maenarch was buried as Ystradfflur or Strata 
Florida abbey in I'aerdiganshire, which was built by his brother 
in law Rhys ap Tewdwr, and endowed in 1164 by Rhys ap 
Griffith, who styles himself the founder, in his charter preserve! 
in the Monaxticon. Leland in his Collectnnra, vol. 1. p. 45, mor.i 
correctly calls " Resus filius Theodori princeps Suth-WalliB 
primus fundator," of this monastery. Bleddin left two sons, 
Gwrgan, from whom are descended the Wogans of Pembroke- 
shire and several families in Brecknockshire, and Cradoc whose 
issue (if it has not failed) from the continual change of names, 
cannot now be traced. 



From the Conquest by Bernard Ne,vmarch.> to the Accession of the Lordship of Brecknock by Humphrey de Bohun 
(the sixth of that Namei, in Right of his Wife Elinor, one of the Daughters of William de Breos. 

SEVERAL o! our Welsh pedigrees make Bernard Newmarch to be uterine brother to William the 
Conqueror, though they are not confirmed in the assertion by any of the English historians. 
Mr. Collinson, the author of the History of Somersetshire, says bis name was Pancewolt and 
thai he held the land- nf Dunkerton near Bath of one Turstin Fitzrolf, a Norman baron, who obtained 
that manor of the Conqueror, but that he afterwards took the name of de Novo Mercatu or of the 
New Market, under which he occurs as a, witness to King William's charter to the monks of Battle; be 
is also called Newmarch and Necmarch in the roll of Battle Abbey, copied by Stowe in his Chronicle. 
Bernard Pancewolt, besides Dunkerton. held under the same Fitzrolf, as appears by Doomsday Book, 
(iillingham in Dorsetshire, and llildeisley in ( iloucestershire, and of the Crown he also held several 
manors in Sussex and Froxfield in Wilts, but we have still to learn Mr-. Collinson's authority for 
representing Pancewolt as the same person with the conqueror of Breconshire. The assertion of Sir 
Robert Atkyns, that his descendants inherited the manor of Dyrham in (llouei-stershire, -rem-, to rest 
upon no surer foundation. In the insurrection excited against William Rufus, by his uncle Odo, in 
favour of Duke Robert (1088), we find Bernard de Newmarch assooiatmg with Ralph de .Mortimer, 
Roger de Laci and other barons, doing considerable mischief in Worcestershire and Herefordshire ; but 
by the exertions of the King, aided by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, whose influence over the 
English nation was very considerable, they were beaten and repulsed, and afterwards returned to their 


" Upon the defeat and death of Bleddyn, Bernard Newmarch disliking the situation of Caerbannau> 
then or since corruptly called Caervong, caused it to be razed to the ground, and following the course 
of the river Usk for three miles downwards, he crossed that river, as there are reasons to believe, 
some tew yards below a mill called Usk mill. 2 An old deed in our possession, of the date of 
1406, describes some lands which arc thereby conveyed to one of the Havards of Cwrt John Young (a 
mansion formerly erected near the spot) as extending from Benni on the west, to Bernardys fordi on 
the east. Here, on the north side of the Usk, the Conquerer built a strong castle on an eminence 
and lixed his residence, and whatever materials were worth carrying or preserving, he removed from 
the old town, and employed in the erection of his new fortress, or in building habitations for his 
followers and dependants. 


'•To the knights and principal gentlemen who accompanied him in his expedition, he proceeded to 
distribute the domain he had acquired, agreeably to the feudal system then prevailing, reserving to 
himself the principal parts, with the seigniory of the whole. To Sir Reginald Awbrey, he gave the 
manors of Slwch and Abercynrig ; to Sir Humphrey Bourghill or Burghill, the manor of Crickhowel; to 
Sir Peter Gunter 3 the manor from him called Tregunter or Gunterstone ; to Sir Miles Picard, de 
Picarde or Pitcher, the manor of Scethrog ; to Sir John Walbieffe or Walbeoff 4 the manor of Llan- 
hamlach and Llanvihangei tal y llyn ; to Sir Humphrey Rollers, the manor of Tredustan ; to Sir Walter 
Havard, the manor of Pontwylym ; to Sir Richard de Bois, the manor called from him Trebois ; to 
Sir Richard Peyton, the manor from him also called Peytin ; to Sir John Skull, the manors of Bolgoed 
and Crai ; to Sir Thomas, or as others, Sir Richard Bullen, or de Boulogne, the manor of Wern fawr : 
to Sir Philip Walwyn, the manor of Hay; to Sir Hugh Surdwal, the manor of Aberescir ; to Sir Giles 
Pierrepoint, otherwise Parkville, the manor of Gileston ; and to Walter de Cropus, lands in Llansaintfread. 

I Notwithstanding all writers have placed th aquest 'if site where now (1900) is the f ler to tin- Brecknock ('anal, at 

Breconshire about the year 1092, there are win.' reasons for Newton Pool 

believing that that event as well as the reduction <>f Glamorgan- 3 r rt o- Gunter family still exist; I il. Gunter, MI'., wa 

shire occurred some few years sooner: for in loss. Bernard de personal friend of the first Baron Glan 

Newmarch gives Glazburv and the tythes of the lord-hip of * The Wall fs are not yet extinct. A Walbeof was schooi 

Brecon, to Serlo the abbot and monks of Gloucestershire ; and in fellow of the late Captain J. Bailey, K.X.. I. -it sank mi- wan 

the samo year, we find turn ravaging the borders of Wales, in In lss4 a woman named Walbj asked relief at Crickhowell. She 

conjunction with the friends of Robert of N-a-mandy. said the family name was Walbeof, but her husband had altered 

a This mill was standing in ruins some few years ago, on the it because people laughed at it. 


The descendants of most of these Normans continued in the country and the neighbourhood in 
1805, though several of them had changed their names according to the Welsh custom ; but the 
Peytons and Pierrepoints 1 soon failed or quitted the principality. 

Bernard's grant to gwrgan. 
"Some MSS. inform us that Gwrgan the eldest son of Bleddin made attempts to recover his father's 
dominions, yet without success; if this was the case, Bernard behaved to him with a liberality not 
very common in those days, for though he kept him pretty much under his eye, and he was con- 
sidered as a kind of state prisoner in his castle and town of Brecon, he gave him the lands and 
revenues arising from the manors of Blanllyfni, Aberllyfni, and part of Llanvihangel tal y llyn. Cradoc 
had lands assigned him in the hilly parts of the country, and his uncle Drymbenog, second brother to 
his father, was permitted to enjoy as much of the lordship of Cantreff-Selyff as remained after the 
slices cut out for the Norman knights. Such conduct towards an unfortunate family, whom the 
chances of war had thus thrown into his power, reflects no inconsiderable degree of credit upon the 
Conqueror, and in some measure wipes off the stain which his usurpation throws upon him ; for 
though it be admitted that Gwrgan was narrowly watched and not permitted to stir abroad without 
the company of two Norman knights, yet when we recollect the precarious situation in which Bernard 
stood, and the difficulties by which he was surrounded on every side in the maintenance of his newly 
acquired territory, it must be confessed that want of caution would have been a want of sense. For 
notwithstanding victory had hitherto attended his standard, and we have seen him succeed with a 
celerity and to an extent beyond his most sanguine expectations, yet the implacable aversion of the 
natives to a foreign yoke must have rendered his tenure very far from being secure and undisturbed. 

insurrection in 1094. 

"As a proof of this, we hear that in the year 1094, the men of Brecknockshire, in concert with those of 
Gwent and Gower, upon the death of William Fitzbaldwyn (whose name it seems was a terror to the 
Welsh), attacked their invaders in all directions, defeating them in several engagements and expelled 
them from the country. Loth, however, to give up those possessions to which they conceived they 
were entitled, by a right frequently recognised by the soldier though the lawyer sometimes hesitates in 
admitting it, they returned from England with an immense army of their countrymen and Saxons, 
threatening to extirpate the Britons for their inveterate " pervicacity .' ' But whether the latter had 
now acquired a superior knowledge of discipline from their conquerors, or a sense of their wrongs had 
inspired them with a determination to conquer or die, or both these causes contributed to their 
success, they met and defeated the assailants at a place called by different authors Celli larfawc, 
Celli Darfawc, and Celli carnawc, 2 and upon their endeavouring to rally, one of the Welsh chronicles 
tells us, the British army, making a feint of retiring into the mountains of Breeonshire, by this 
stratagem induced the English to follow them, when they were again attacked in a disadvantageous 
position in Gelli-gaer (a parish in Glamorganshire on the confines of Breeonshire), and totally defeated 
with the loss of many of their leaders, among whom were Roger Montgomery earl of Arundel, William 
Fitz-Eustace Earl of Gloucester, Arnold de Harcourt and Neal le Viscompte, who were all slain in the 

" The scattered remains of their forces attempted to reach England, but were intercepted by Griffith 
and Ivor, the sons of Idnerth ap Cadwgan, at a place called Aberllech in Monmouthshire, where the 
Welsh again triumphed and satiated their revenge with the blood of their late masters, so that for 
some time no safety remained for those Normans who continued in the country, but such as their 
stone walls and castles afforded them. Within these strongholds they lived, alternately in a state of 
gloomy grandeur and sulky silence, or brutal inebriety, and from thence they occasionally sallied forth 
in large bodies to desolate the country and plunder the inhabitants, depending, like other beasts of 
prey, chiefly upon the success of these kind of expeditions for provisions. It was in one of these 
sorties, probably from the garrison of the castle of Brecon (1098) that Cadwgan the son of Bleddin 
was slain by the followers or friends of Bernard Newmarch, though Powel, from what authority we 
know not, attributes his death to treachery. 


"The Welsh writers are so elated with the temporary blaze of patriotism and valour, which shone 
among their countrymen at this period, that they forget to give us any account how the Normans 

1 It is remarkable that this name (certainly not a very common now remain ; they have not changed their names, but (which is 

one) should be found in Brecon as late as the year H48, asappears rather extraordinary) they have picked up a Welsh motto, "Trwy 

by a charter of that date from the duke of Buckingham to the rhinwedd gwaed," of noble blood, or of the blood of those who 

borough of Brecon, m which, among other English names, are are much above the vulgar : " Fine words, I wonder where they 

found those of John IVrrepoint, senior, and Jolin Pierrepoint, stole 'em. 

junior. Sir Philip Walwyn or his descendants soon removed from " Recte Gelligarnog or garneddog, the wood of the mounds 

Brecknockshire and settled in Herefordslure, where lhs posterity or heaps of stones or tumuli. 


regained their authority, and the English historians are too busily employed with the transactions of 
their kings upon the Continent, where they were now become of considerable weitdit and importance, 
to trouble themselves with recording the incidents occurring in a petty warfare among the mountains 
of Wales. Tt is not clear how far Bernard was implicated or what losses lie sustained in these attacks 
of the Welsh. We have seen that bis territories were one of the objects against which their forces 
were directed and through which they must have marched, but it does not appear that he composed 
part of the army, or was concerned in the affair of Gelli garnog or Aberllech ; certain however it is, 
that soon after this event, he recovered his influence and power over his conquests, which he after- 
wards confirmed by his marriage. If was perhaps in the latter end of the eleventh, or very s 1 

after the commencement of the twelfth century, that Roger 1 de Newburgh came to the assistance 
of Bernard de Newmarch, then nearly in a state of siege in his castle, and as the men of Gower had 
ravaged his possessions and supported his rebellious subjects (as he may have called them) it is not 
unlikely that after extricating himself out of his troubles in Breconshire, and bringing the natives once 
more under subjection, he joined his confederate in subduing the inhabitants of Gower in their turn, 
and that having succeeded in the enterprise, he conferred upon him some territorial possessions and 
mesne lordships in that country, in the same manner as he had rewarded his knights in Breconshire, 
reserving to himself the sovereignty or lordship paramount over the whole. This is the only mode of 
reconciling the inconsistent account given by Dugdale of the possession of Gowerland by the two 
families of Newburgh and the descendants of Bernard Newmarch ; for while we are there told that 
Roger de Newburgh conquered his territory, that he gave it to his son William, upon whose death it 
came to his brother Henry, and that it was confirmed by the Crown in 1361 to the Beauchamps, the 
successors by marriage to the Newburghs Earls of Warwick, we have a, kind of collateral or parallel 
history, by which it appears that during the same period the possession of the lordship descended from 
Milo Fit'zwalter. the son in law of Bernard, to Phillip de Breos, in right of his wife Bertha, afterwards 
to William de Breos, one of their sons, to whom it was confirmed by King John in the year 11 '.14, 
and that it continued in this family, notwithstanding the occasional claims of the Newburghs, until the 
abandoned and dissipated spendthrift William de Breos, in 1321, after having defrauded his son in law, 
John de Mowbray, upon whom he settled it, and cheated his creditors by mortgaging it three times 
over, at last sold it to three different persons at the same time, neither of whom obtained possession, 
though they all paid him the purchase money for it. 


"To strengthen and add stability to his interest among the Welsh, Bernard married Nest.- grand- 
daughter of Griffith ap Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, a lady who does no credit to our country 
or his choice, further than as it is contributed to give permanency to his title and reconciled bis issue 
to his new subject. Having by these means endeavoured to make his government tolerable to the 
Britons, who either from necessity and compulsion, as has just been hinted or upon the subsiding of 
the ferment raised in the country by the sons of Bleddin. soon learned to submit to the yoke of their 
former masters, he now turned bis arms against Elvel in Radnorshire, upon the borders of the Wye. 
This tract of country he added to his territories without much difficulty; thus forcing from Cadwgan 
ap Elystan Glodrydd what the father bad with equal injustice and in the same violent manner torn 
from Dryffin ap Hwgan. After this expedition Bernard appears no more as a warrior: from hence- 
forward he applied himself to make atonement, in the usual way in those days, for any vices or 
irregularities committed in the course of his life. By the advice of Roger, bis confessor, monk of 
Battle, he founded the Benedictine priory of Saint John the Evangelist, without the walls of Brecknock 
Castle, which he liberally endowed and constituted a cell to Battle Abbey. The churches, lands, and 
tythes of Bodenham and Brunshope in Herefordshire, Pottingham in Staffordshire, Hardington 3 in 
Somersetshire, the manor of Berrington in Herefordshire, Llanywern, 4 Talgarth. Llangorse, and a portion 
of tythes in Llansaintfread in Brecknockshire, the lordship of Caernoys (Caerbannau), which in the charter 

1 Powel says, Henry de Newburgh conquered Gower, but S The church of Hardington was afterwards, by consent of 
Dugdale in his baronage attributes the subjugation of that the abbots and monks of Battle under then- common seal, given 
country to his son Roger de Newburgh. up by the monk-, of Brecknock to those of Qnarre m the Isle of 

2 This princess was a woman of very louse principles, and Wight, upon payment of fifteen marks of silver by the latter, to 
notoriously meretricious before her marriage ; for by Fleanee, the whom it was then granted by Geoffrey Handeville. Maddox's 
son of Banrpio, king of Scotland, who fled to Wales, to avoid Form. Anglic, p. 255. 

punishment for a murder, she had Walter Stuart, or the Steward. 4 Bernard de Newmarch m his charter expressly gives Llany 

ancestor of the Stuarts, kings of Scotland, ami afterwards of uern in exchange for Llanvihangel tal y llyn, which was part of 

England. The honour of having killed his man was perhaps a the lands assigned to Gwrgan tl Idest son of Bleddin ap 

recommendation to the lady at that time, as it is .said to ho since. Maenareh, 
in nations supposed to be more civilised. 


of Battle Abbey is called the old town, and one carucate 1 land adjoining a mill upon the Usk, and 
two thirds of another upon the river Honddu, the chapel within the walls of the castle, lands called 
Costnio, supposed to be Llangasty tal y llyn near Brecknock mere, lands near Llyfni, and the tithes of 
Hay, besides other lands and domains given by his followers, were now appropriated towards the 
support of his new foundation, the principal management of which was given to one Walter, an 
intimate friend of Roger, and a brother monk of the same society, who upon the completion of the 
work was made prior and charged with the annual payment of twenty shillings as a token of filial 
obedience to the abbey in Sussex. The convent of Brecknock was j»rivileged to vote at the elections 
of the abbots of Battle and its priors were eligible to the abbacy. To the monks of Gloucester, 
Bernard in 1088 gave the manor and advowson of Glazbury, a parish situate in the counties of Breck- 
nock and Radnor, the advowson, glebe and tythes of Cowarne magna in Herefordshire, and one hyde 
called Bache, and all the tythes of his lordship called Brekenny or Brekenham, namely corn, cattle, 
cheese, venison and honey : perhaps by this last grant is meant the great forest of Devynnock, called 
in all royal grants the great forest of Brecknock. This gift was afterwards confirmed by William 
Rufus. The patronage of Devynnock, with one third of all the tythes of that parish, were in 1805 
vested in the diocesan of Gloucester and in the original endowment of that see, given by Sir Robert 
Atkins, they are stated to be appendant to the dissolved monastery of Saint Peter. 

"The manor of Glazbury was exchanged by Gilbert abbot of Gloucester, with Walter de Clifford, 
lord of Bronllis, for that of Estleche Turville in Gloucestershire; but the politic abbot contrived to 
keep the advowson of both churches in his own hands : the patronage of Glazbury was in 1805, by 
endowment, vested in the Bishop of Gloucester, as was the curacy of Estleche in the dean and 


"Bernard Newmarch died in the reign of King Henry the First, and as Leland says, was buried in 
the cloister of the cathedral church of Gloucester ; where upon the wall of the chapter-house was 
inscribed, Hie Bernardas <!/ novo mercatu, though the inhabitants of Brecknock used to show his 
monument in the Priory Church of that town. What family lie left we know not with any certainty. 
Giraldus Cambrensis notices only two. Mahel and Sibil, yet Bernard in his charter to the monks of 
Brecknock, speaks of sons and daughters, and particularly mentions, that he gives Costinio for the 
welfare of the soul of his son Phillip. Giraldus tells us, that according to the just laws of inheritance, 
Mahel should have succeeded to his father's property, but that the persecution of an infamous woman 
deprived him of his right. It seems this unfortunate young man, having provoked the vengeance of 
liis wicked and unnatural mother, by the discovery of a shameful intrigue carried on by her with a 
certain knight, whose name is not now known, was by the machinations and vile arts of the self- 
convicted adultress (who made oath before Henry the First king of England, that Mahel was not the 
son of her husband Bernard Newmarch) declared to he illegitimate and deprived of his inheritance, 
which upon his exclusion, devolved to Miles or Milo of Gloucester, son of Walter constable of England, 
who, by his interest at court, had obtained the sister of Mahel in marriage. Philip therefore and any 
other sons Bernard may have had, must have died, in the lifetime of their father, unless the will and 
power of Henry prevailed to set aside the common law of descent. 


"Before we proceed to follow the descendants of the Normans, it may not be amiss to return for a 
moment to the issue of Bleddin ap Maenarch, and to show generally the families who are sprung from 

" Gwrgan, though narrowly watched by the dependants and friends of Bernard Newmarch, as has 
hern Men, was yet permitted to form a connection which produced him a valuable accession of terri- 
tory and added no inconsiderable weight to his political importance in the principality. He married 
Gwenllian, daughter and heiress of Philip Gwys, lord of Gwyston, since called Wiston, in Pembroke- 
shire, a baron of high rank and great power in his day : with her he had this lordship, as a marriage 
portion, which he gave to his eldest son. called Sir Walter Gwrgan or Wogan. This branch preserved 
the name with a, trifling alteration, and until within a very few years back continued to reside at 
Wiston. the venerable mansion of the family: the male line is now extinct. Cadifor, another of the 
sons of Gwrgan, possessed himself of the lordship of Glyntawe in Brecknockshire, and part of Gower 

1 In tl iginal, "' parueatam terrrp " and sometimes caruca ; acres are allotted to a carucate. Fleta who wrote in the reign of 

a plough-land or ns much arable land as ■■mild he ploughed with Edward the First says, that if lands lay in three common fields. 

one plough, during the sowing season: the measure of a carucate a carucate consisted of one hundred and eighty acres, sixty for 

was different according to time and place: in the reign of winter tillage, sixty for spring tillage, and sixty for fallow, but 

Richard the Second, it was computed at sixty acres, yet in if the lands lay in two fields, then one hundred and sixty acres 

another charter of the ninth of the same reign one hundred to a carucate, one half for tillage and the other for fallow. 

\4 ~ 
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in Glamorganshire, though how he acquired them does not appear ; his son Griffith Gwyr, or Griffith of 
Gower, had a mesne lordship and lands in that tract. He left numerous descendants in Glamorgan- 
shire, who assumed numerous sirnames : among them is the family of Jones of Fonmon, who still 
bears the arms of his ancestor Bleddin ap Maenarch, sahle a chevron between three spears' heads 
argent, their points imbrued with blood proper. 

" To Trahaern, his second son. Gwrgan left Aberllyfni, near Glazhury, where he resided, and Llan- 
fihangel tal y llyn. He married Coan, daughter of Sir Einion ap Bledri ; his descendants in the fourth 
generation were David and Einion, the latter was called from his long residence in England Einion 
Sais, or the Englishman. The families sprung from David, were Lewis of Ffrwdgrech, Llangorse, and 
Pennant, Talachddu and Manachddu in Radnorshire, Thomas of Slwch, now extinct, Maddocks of 
Llanfrynach, and Jeffreys of Llywel and Brecknock. From Einion Sais are descended. Williams of 
Gwernyfed, Cahalfa in Radnorshire, and Gaer in Breconshire ; this last branch failed in the male line 
with David Williams 1 of Gaer, who died in 1783: from Einion likewise sprung Sir David Cam, and 
of course the families of Games and Morgans of Penderrin, now of Brecknock. From Cadivor, the 
third son of Gwrgan, are descended the Powels of Cantref, Swansea, and Peterstone in Breconshire, 
Powel of Maesrnawr, and Jones of Trebinshwn, now extinct, and Howel, the fourth son, was the 
ancestor of the family of Sais of I'.overton and Swansea. Having thus brielly given the issue and 
posterity of Gwrgan, it will be unnecessary to follow those of the second son of Bleddin, further than 
merely to observe, that the Vaughans of Bredwardine, afterwards of Tretower, Porthaml, Hergest, 
Trebarried, Merthyr Cynog, and Cathedine, who at one time abundantly supplied the country with 
inhabitants, and ' scattered their Maker's image through the land, 1 though they are now nearly 
extinct, all claim their descent from Drymbenog ap Bleddin ap Maenarch. 


" Upon the death oi Bernard Newmarch, his son in law Milo or Miles, sirnamed Fitzwalter, 2 
generally called .Milo of Gloucester (his usual place of residence), succeeded to the lordship of Breck- 

\, in right of his wife Sybil, without any opposition (as far as we can learn) from his brother in 

law Mahel, whom the historians of these times, after the information given us of his disinherison, have 
thrown quietly upon the shelf, without either putting him to death or preserving the memory of any 
incidents that may have occurred to him in the course of his life. The right of Miles to the property 
his wife brought him. obtained by her mother in the foul way just related, was certainly more than 
questionable, and indeed the injustice of English claims in general to lands in Wales cannot be more 
strongly, though it be rather marvellously demonstrated, than by the admission of the King of England 
himself, as related by Giraldus Cambrensis. Henry the First, being in conversation with this noble- 
man. Miles was informing his Majesty of a strange circumstance that happened, or which he dreamt 
had happened, in his presence, while he was passing near the lake of Llynsavaddan or Llangorse pool 
in Breconshire, in company with Griffith the son of Rhys ap Tewdwr, the late Prince of Wales. 
■ Upon the approach of the rightful prince (says Giraldus) the birds upon the lake joined in concert, 
and by the clapping of their wings seemed to testify an universal joy. By the death of Christ, his 
usual oath, it is no wonder; there is nothing strange in tlii* (says the King of England), for we have 
violently and injuriously oppressed that nation, as it is well known that they are the natural and 
original proprietors of the country.' 

" In a tew years afterwards, we find the grandson of this same monarch had no scrupulous or 
compunctious visitinL r s of conscience, when he led an army to lay waste the county of Brecon, in 
his march to Pencader in Caermarthenshire to attack Rhys the son of the rightful prince Griffith, 
whose possessions then only consisted of the latter county and Caerdiganshire, on which occasion 
however he was prevailed upon to withdraw his forces and to return into England, upon receiving 
the homage of one of whom hi' was pleased to stigmatize with the epithet of rebel. 


'■To return to Miles. Though the mode by which he obtained his Welsh possessions cannot strictly 
l>e justified, supported as it was by the iniquitous testimony of a wretch, who in the same moment 
avowed her own guilt, and published her shame, yet his character both as a hero and statesman 
must ever stand high in the opinion of posterity. Upon the accession of Stephen, he appears to 
have been borne down by the tide of popular opinion and the force of numbers and to have been 
compelled to swear allegiance to the usurper; immediately however upon the landing of the Empress 
Maud, he took a decisive part in her favour, and continued her warmest and most zealous partizan 

I Several of this house went to America in the beginning of - Son of Walter Constable of England, by Emma, daughter 

the 18th century. of Drogo or Drue do Baladun, lord of Abergavenny. 


during the whole of the remainder of his life. An old chronicle by an anonymous author has pre- 
served an exploit by Miles soon after Stephen's assuming the crown, which if it could lie depended 
upon would perpetuate his courage as well as gallantry, and place him almost in the same rank 
with Amadis de Gaul, Orlando Furioso, or any other visionary hero of romance. Lord Lvttleton, 
in his Life of Henry the Second, has erroneously referred to Giraldus Cambrensis for this anecdote, 
but the story of the assistance rendered by Milo to the Countess of Clare, widow of Richard 
Fitzgilbert or Richard de Tonbrugge, or Clare, first earl of Hertford, is quoted by Carte with more 
accuracy from the chronicle just mentioned, where we learn that this Richard was betrayed and 
murdered by the Welsh at the very time when he proposed joining them in an insurrection against 
the King of England, and that his lady, who was sister to the Earl of Chester, being soon after tin- 
death oi her husband besieged in one of his castles in Caerdiganshire, with scarcely any expectations 
of relief, was almost miraculously saved from death, or perhaps a more ignominious fate, by the 
interference and bravery of Milo Fitzwalter, who with a handful of men, at the command of King 
Stephen, marched through an enemy's country, over the tops of mountains and through imperious 
wilds and brought her and her whole suite safe into England, leaving the besiegers to batter bare 
walls and to plunder a deserted fortress. 


"The Welsh chronicle gives a very different account of the death of the earl of Clare and the 
siege of his castle. In the year (1138) there was a dispute between king Stephen and his nobles 
(says this history) and the king laid siege to Lincoln, where they were assembled. To their 
assistance came Robert Consul, who brought a great army of Welshmen with him, to support the cause 
of his sister Maud, who had married the emperor of Germany ; with Robert also came Ralph, Earl 
of Chester, and the men of Rhyfoniog and Tegengyl and (filbert, earl of Clare, with a strong force 
from Dyfed. And the Norman and Saxon nobility pressed hard upon the Icing and took him prisoner, 
and in that battle the valour of the Welsh was particularly conspicuous. In this conflict, Iorwerth, 
ap Owen ap Caradoc, led the van, leaving the earl of Clare in his rear; this, the earl resented 
highly, and soon afterwards seeing Iorwerth by the river side fishing, he struck him a violent blow 
on the ear, at the same time calling him a clownish Welshman, and telling him he was totally 
ignorant of the manners of a gentleman, or he would not have presumed to take the lead of his 
superior. The Briton, though he might want politeness, certainly did not want courage, the only 
answei therefore he returned to this rude address (as far as now appears) was by laying the assailant 
dead at his feet with one blow of his fist. Upon hearing of this event, the Welsh immediately 
laid siege to the castle of Uwchtryd in Caerdiganshire, to which place the countess of Clare had 
retired from Caermarthen for safety, and compelled the garrison to fly for their lives. 

" Thus differently related are the transactions of these days by the historians of the two different 
countries. The reader will determine to which he will give credit. The whole story, as related 
by the Gesta Regis Stephani, appears to be extremely doubtful as well as improbable and not 
sufficiently authenticated. Giraldus Cambrensis, though he wrote soon after this supposed event, 
and though he frequently mentions the name of Milo Fitzwalter, says not a syllable of his having 
rescued the Countess of Clare from her enemies, and the whole of this tale, unsupported as it is, 
except by an anonymous writer, savours too much of the marvellous. On the other hand, the 
Welsh were so far from distinguishing themselves in this fight, though their defeat throws little, 
if any, disgrace upon their national character, that being thinly clad and poorly armed, they were 
put to flight on the first onset of the king's troops under William D'Ypres, whose coat-; of mail 
and "ribs of steel" were impenetrable to the rude weapons of the mountaineers. The name of 
Gilbert has likewise been inaccurately introduced by the British historian, instead of Richard Fitz- 
gilbert. and the latter part of the account. — in which the lady and the garrison, who lied into the 
castle for safety, are made to fly out of it for the same purpose into the very heart of an enemy's 
country, — is confused if not incredible. 


" Milo Fitzwalter was another knight of the dolorous tower, or ceidwad y castell dolurus, being in 
his own right as constable of all England, governor or keeper of the king's castle of Gloucester 
(for it was then a royal fortress). He had a considerable property in and about this city, and 
here he generally resided. Stephen, king of England, soon after his accession to the throne, granted 
by charter to him and his heirs, this his patrimony, as well as the lordship of Brecknock, as fully 
as he enjoyed them in the time of the late king, and in this fortress Milo received, in his official 
capacity, his sovereign after the battle of Bedford, or as some say, in his return from his journey 
to Scotland. From this place and at this time, if the account just mentioned be correct, he must 


have been dispatched by Stephen to the relief of the Countess of Clare, as he never afterwards 
appeared in the character of the king's friend or subject ; for upon the arrival of the Empress 
Aland in this island (as has been just mentioned), being either satisfied of her right to the crown, 
or persuaded by her half brother, Robert, earl of Gloucester, a natural son of Henry the First, and 
in right of his wife, the daughter "I Robert Fitzhammon, also lord of Glamorgan, he joined 
her with all his forces, and supported her by every exertion in Ins power. His influence was at this 
time very considerable, as he had nol only the seigniory of the whole of Brecknockshire, but also 
ample possessions in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. "The power of this baron (says the noble 
author of tin Life of Henry tin Second) was of no less use to Matilda, than his personal talents: very 
few men in those times were comparable to him, either in counsel or action. By his activity, valour 
and discretion, and the abilities of the earl of Gloucester, who had all the great qualities that are 
necessary in the head of a party, and all the virtues that could be consistent with the unhappy 
necessities of that situation, the cause of the Empress was supported, and with their help, she gained 
strength, though unassisted by any foreign power, and without- any other means than what she 
drew from the war itself, or from the voluntary aid of her friends, being in such want of money, 
that even her household and table were kept at Milo's expence in the castle of Gloucester.' In 
reward for his services, the Empress in 1141 created him Earl of Hereford, and together with the 
title, she gave him real fiefs, for by the instrument of his creation, the first of its kind in English 
history, she gave him the moat and castle of Hereford, the third penny of the rent of the borough, 
and the third penny of the pleas of the whole county, the manors of Mawardine (Marden), Lugwardine, 
Wilton, Hay Hereford, the forest of Trinela, and lastly the services of Robert de Chandos, Hugh 
Fit/.william and Robert de Cormeill. This document, dated at Hereford, is attested, among many 
others, by David king of Scotland, Bernard bishop of Saint David's. Robert earl of Gloucester, and 
Humphrey de Bohun the first. 

milo's seal found at andover. 

"To follow Miles through the different struggles and vicissitudes of fortune, which occurred in 
his short career, would be foreign to our purpose : suffice it to say, that he served his mistress 
ably and faithfully, as well in adversity as prosperity. Unluckily for her, perhaps happily for the 
nation (for she knew not how to conduct herself when in power), she was deprived of the talents 
and assistance of this great man ; he was shut accidentally through the heart by an arrow, by one 
of his own knights, who accompanied him in hunting, and who aimed at a stag passing between 
them. This happened on Christinas eve 114:'., or as others 1144. His continued exertions in favour 
and support of the cause he espoused in England, though of infinite advantage to the party he 
served, left him little time to attend to his possessions in Wales, which he seldom if ever visited; 
he is not found among the benefactors to the monastery or contributors to the liberties of the town 
of Brecon, although the benevolence 1 of the Welshmen frequently furnished a part of the repast 
of her imperial majesty, and his other guests of Gloucester. In the year 1795, an ancient seal 
of this earl was found by some labourers who were digging in a field near Andover in Hampshire — 
(as recorded in the Gentleman's Magazine, September L795)— in the direct line between the city of 
Winchester and Luggershall, to which latter place the Empress escaped in her way to Devizes: it- 
is probable her friend .Miles, who was compelled to pass the enemy's camp barefooted, and in the 
disguise of a beggar, in order to join his royal mistress at Gloucester, threw away this tell-tale badge 
of distinction hi the field where it was picked up, to effect his purpose with less risk of being dis- 
covered. It was of silver and weighed three ounces and three penny weights, quite plain on the 
reverse, and had a neck or loop on the top, for ribband, by which it was most probably suspended 
and worn, a^ a badge or ornament. 

" Milo was buried in the chapter house of Saint Mary de Lantoni, near Gloucester, of which he 
was the founder; his wife Sybil was placed on his right side. He left- live sons, each of whom, 
excepting William, enjoyed his property, and three daughters, Margery married to Humphrey de Bohun, 
Bertha to Phillip de Breos, and Lucy to Herbert Fitzherbert. 


"Upon the death of Milo Fit/.w alter, his eldest son Roger succeeded to the earldom of Hereford 
and lordship of Brecknock, together with most of his father's possessions; he married Cecilia, 

1 Upon the conquest of Breconsliirc In Bernard N'ewmarch logy) they called "the benevolence of the Welshmen." The 

and ui-iii .Mv.-tm- - n-il, - in ili.- county I . % I lie Normans, thej Vuwch Larder or rnento of iln- custom or subjection was 

polled the tenantry to provide a certain' number of cattle for known and recollected earh in the 18th century, and the figure 

the lord's larder yearly, in proportion to the quantity of lands of a cow, rudely carved in wood, was seen over a window in the 

they held; this exaction (in an insulting and sarcastic phraseo- manor house within the castle of Brecknock in 1805. 


daughter of Payne Fitzjohn, a privy counsellor of Henry the First, and lord of Ewyas in Hereford- 
shire, in whose right he became possessed of that territory. Carte says he was an active, valiant, 
and deserving man, but young and inexperienced and unequal to his father: he possessed an early 
attachment to Henry the Second, the son of his father's friend the Empress Maud. Upon the 
arrival of that prince hi England, he accompanied him to the court of David King of Scotland, who had 
promised him assistance to oppose the arms of Stephen, and had in other instances shewn a sincere 
regard for his interest. Soon after the succession however of that great and good monarch to the 
throne of England, the harmony which subsisted between them was interrupted. Stephen, who 
during the whole of his life lay at the mercy of his nobles, and had not the power of resisting 
their exorbitant demands, had alienated so much of the crown demesnes, that a sufficiency was not 
left to maintain the royal dignity. Some cities and forts had been granted away, which it would 
have been imprudent to have permitted to remain in the hands of those to whom they were given, 
as the possessors were supposed to be inimical to the power of the crown and the peace of the nation. 
Henry found it absolutely necessary to recall most of these grants without discrimination whether 
made by Stephen or his mother ; but the sound policy which dictated, and the impartiality with 
which this measure was executed, was neither admitted or approved of by the young lord of 
Brecknock. He could not comprehend or believe that private gratitude should give way to public 
advantage, or that the foes and friends of the monarch should be treated by the same rule. He 
was also encouraged and instigated to resistance by the Earl of Yorkshire and Roger de Mortimer, 
both of whom were likely to suffer by this resolution of the king ; but Henry was no common 
opponent. It was the will of Providence that he should be humbled, to convince him, as well as 
posterity, of the vanity of human grandeur, and the imbecility of the wisest designs of princes, yet 
one only of his subjects could resist him with impunity, and even he, after having spurned at the 
power that raised him and distracted and divided the kingdom into parties, at last fell a sacrifice 
to the general, though too ardent attachment to the sovereign. Gilbert Foliott, bishop of Hereford, 
a wise, and virtuous prelate and a kinsman and friend to Earl Roger, saw the precipice to which 
he was approaching and warned him in time of his danger : by seasonable and sound arguments 
he prevailed upon him to give up to Henry the castles of Gloucester and Hereford, which he claimed. 
Henry not only pardoned but restored the earl to favour ; for though the rigid rules of justice com- 
pelled him to act with this apparent harshness towards the son of his mother's best friend, it was 
impossible to overlook the hardship of his case, and to avoid Lamenting that it should become necessary 
to include him hi the same class with the descendants of the depredators of the late reign, and 
therefore it is by no means improbable, that Henry commissioned the bishop to hint to him the con- 
sequences of his submission. Camden says, the moat and castle of Hereford were restored to him 
with all the original privileges attached to the earldom. 

review of Roger's character. 
"It is very extraordinary that we know not with certainty whether this earl was a very good 
or a very bad man ; we are informed that he was active and valiant, and we have seen that he 
was hasty and impetuous, but whether a few crimes, such as homicide or murder, sacrilege, rapes 
or such fashionabie offences of the day, suggested his numerous benefactions to the church, or they 
were really dictated by devotion, we know not. Both these motives, though of so opposite com- 
plexions and natures, were beneficial to the temporary concerns of the religious of those times, but 
inasmuch as crimes were more prevalent than piety, the doctrine of compensation was the most 
productive of the two. If a neighbouring baron or rich man was troublesome, and by accident 
or the chances of war fell into the power of his adversary or superior, he was knocked on the head, 
and by this means three principal points were gained. In the first place the great man " thank 'd 
God he was rid of a knave,'' in the second he industriously employed himself in securing the effects 
of his late prisoner, part of which he appropriated to the benefit of some religious house, and lastly 
by this gift he not only rubbed off a long score of guilt from his conscience, but advanced con- 
siderably on his road to future, happiness, and he also, in a case of this kind, had an irresistible 
claim upon the monks for their intercessions and prayers, which after such a clear proof of the 
sinner's repentance were always presumed to be efficacious. As however history has not recorded 
any flagitious actions of this young man, or branded his character with opprobrium, charity should 
induce us to attribute his donations to laudable motives, and under this impression we proceed to 
enumerate them. 


" To the monks of Brecknock he was particularly munificent and bountiful, having augmented 
their privileges and revenues by five several charters now extant. By the first charter he granted 
the prior and convent the privilege of maintaining their own jurisdiction in all things, within such 


liberties as were consistent with the dignity of holy mother church; lie also thereby granted them 
the land of Saint Paulinus upon the mere (imn called Llangorse pool), with the liberty of fishing 
in the mere three daj T s of the week, and every day during the terms "I lenl and advent ; In- gave 
them the tythes of all his colts, calves, lambs, cheese, wool and (lax and of all things tythable within 
the forest, throughout tin' whole lordship of Brecknock, and the tythes of whatever might he pro- 
vided for consumption within bis demesne, whether he should be absent or present : the tythes 
of his larder 1 at Hay; the tythes of all cattle arising from the jn< gift of tin Welshmen, the 
tythes of whatever plunder he took in war- from his enemies, and also a, free right of commonage 
throughout his whole territory of Brecknock, and lastly he confirmed and enlarged the charter of 
his grandfather Bernard de Newmarch. 

" In the second charter he confirmed their full, free and peaceable jurisdiction over all their 
tenants, lands and possessions, and all things relating thereto: he granted them the tythes of all 
bread and drink, which should lie expended in his castle of Brecknock and in all other bis demesnes 
throughout the lordship of Brecknock, or in lieu thereof (to guard against the peculation or neglect 
of servants), the tythes of all his corn at the doors of his grange at the castle of Brecknock, at 
Talgarth and Hay ; likewise of all pulse which after the first tything 3 should he discharged from 
the claims of other churches to which they had been before granted, and should any lands or manors 
out of the lordship of Brecknock by any event come into Ins hands, he granted tin-in the like 
privileges therein! He also gave them the tythes of all tolls 1 arising from the carriage of goods 
from his lordships in England to his territories in Wales; he continued to them the churches of 
Talgarth, .Mara or (Llangorse), Llanigon, Llangelen (perhaps Llanelieu), and Cathedin, also the English 
churches mentioned in the charter of Newmareh ; he gave them the tythes of the profits of all his 

pleas, tolls, gifts and returns issuing from Brecknock, and of all g Is and chattels which he had 

gained in Wales ; he also renewed and confirmed to them the right of fishing and free pasturage 
as mentioned in his former charter. 

"By the third charter he again confirmed to them their right of jurisdiction. &c. ; granted to them 
a certain ruinated city, or rather the site of a. city called Carneys, with its dependencies, extending 
from Aberescir, as far as the brook of Cilieni 5 and Llanywern as far as Maeslydan. He also gave 
them all the mills within the parish of Brecknock, with the entire tolls' 1 thereof and all the customs, 
liberties and appurtenances belonging thereto, and he prohibited the erection of any other mill within 
the parish, excepting by the monks alone; he also granted them certain lands called Trewalkin 
and lVnllanavel. &c, and concluded by a recital and renewal of his former grants. The fourth 
charter is little more than a continuation of his former benefactions, with the addition of 
the tythes of pigs of his pannage. 7 

•'The fifth charter is noticed by inspeximus in one of Henry the fourth, though not inserted in 
Dugdale ; by this lie confirmed to tin- monks, in perpetual alms, certain lands given them by 
Osmond de Traneleia, with a burgage in Brecknock and an acre of ground without the wall (extra 

■■ Besides these donations to the monastery or Priory of Brecknock he gave in perpetual alms 
to the church of our lady within the valley of Dor. or rather D'or (or the golden valley), all In- 
land which lieth from the head of the well called Ailburwell the More, on the side towards the forest, 
with common of pasture with the appurtenances. He also gave to the church of St. Mary at 
Clifford in Herefordshire, and to the monks of Saint Pancratius there, the full liberty of buying and 

1 Larder from the old Norman French " Lardier " a room for Roger could possibh have effect, 

keeping provisions. The Normans had one m every castle, * Summagium, (the Latin word in tl iginal) signifies a 

which was principally supplied by the benevokno w the Wcteh- horse lend or rather the toll for the carriage oi each horseload. 

men. : Kilinot in the original, and in another charter Kilimot, 

- Singular as tins maul now appears, there is a precedent for Cilieni however we presume is meant. tin- is a river which falls 

it as far back as the days of Abraham ; for « a find by Genesis, into the Cak <ni the North side aboul seven miles above Bn i in 

c. 14. v. Hii. thai that Patriarch gave tythes of all. meaning (as and four or five above tin- Escir. JIaeslydan (Broadfield) is 

Bishop Patrick in Ins commentary very propeilv < li-erve^i tin- railed in the old charters \ antslidin. 

tythes of all the spoil which he had taken from Chedorlaomer " Cum tota moltura, from molo t" grind signifies sometimes 

and other kings in battle, to Melchisedeck, .a- the church : the grist or a sack of corn brought to the mill to be ground, b n m >n 

sain.- learned prelate remarks thai Diodorus Snnlns report- the frequently, a. here, the ell paid fm grinding; thus, moltura 

same customs to have prevailed among the Greeks, and repeated libera, free grinding. 01 a right to grind without paving tell. 

proofs max- lie pi ,duced from many Roman authors of offerings to a privilege which the lord usually reserved to la- own famih . 

the Gods of part of the plunder taken from their enemies. ■ "lie p. agio meo. i ige in Norman French signifies 

'■> For the elucidation of tin- passage, it max' lie >essary in i mm.' ; or the collecting of acorns for feeding swine, afterwards 

remind the reader, that Bernard Newmareh laid before granted Pannagium meant a sum paid tor leave to feed swine in a forest 

considerable tythes in tins county to the monks of Gl ister. or -n I of anothet person, by one who had no right to the -oil ; 

as had Earl Miles to the monks of Malvern, which claims must it is sometimes written pathnagium and pasnagium ; foresters call 

necessarily be satisfied, before this extraordinary grant of earl it pannage. 


selling all commodities, free from all gabels and tolls and exempted from all fines, suits and customs 
whatsoever, within the territories of Hay and Brecknock and all other his possessions on that side 
of the river Wye. To the knight templars he gave certain lauds near (iloueester bridge, and to the 
knights hospitallers his mill at Toweester, belonging to the preceptory of Shedgay : he founded the 
abbey of Flaxley 1 in Gloucestershire, and at length became himself a monk in the abbey of 
Gloucester, upon which he settled a rent charge of our hundred shillings a year, payable out of his 
estates in Herefordshire. He died m 1 156 without issue and was buried near his grandfather Bernard 
Newmarch, in the place converted into the college library at Gloucester. 


"It is remarkable that Sir William Dugdale in the Monasticon makes Henry, and in his Baronage 
Walter, to be the second son of Miles earl of Hereford. The former must have been a typographical 
mistake, as it is manifest from a variety of evidence that Walter had the advantage of his brother 
Henry in primogeniture. In the lather's charter to the priory of Lantoni seeunda. he speaks of 
his sons Roger, Walter and Henry: the same rotation is observed in the inspeximus of that charter 
by King John. In Holland and in Edmondson's list of constables of England, Walter immed ; atelv 
follows his brother Roger, and in their brother Mabel's charter to the monks of Brecknock he says, 
'Whatever my brothers earl Roger, Walter the constable, and Henry and their tenants granted to 
the said church, &c, I have confirmed.' In this Walter (who undoubtedly succeeded his brother 
Roger as constable of England, though Robert Montenci says Henry took the earldom of Hereford 
into his own hands) were united the lordships of Brecknock and Overwent. According to Leland 
'the hole lordship of Abergavenny makith the cumpace of Hye Wetland': this territory, which 
under the British princes of Gwent or Morganwg had been governed by its own native reguli, was 
first conquered by Hammeline the son of Dru or Drogo de Baladun, who soon after the conquest 
built a castle on the site of one formerly occupied by a British chieftain of the name of Agros. 
Hammeline died in the reign of Wm. Rufus, and was buried in the priory of Benedictines at 
Abergavenny, which lie had founded. By default of issue, the castle, with the lordship of Overwent 
appendant thereto, descended to his nephew, sirnamed I)e insula or Fitzcomte, who having two sons 
afflicted with the leprosy, placed them in the priory, which he liberally endowed with lands, 
advowsons of churches, and the tythes of the castle. At length, seized with the religious frenzy 
of the times, he took up the cross and went to Jerusalem, leaving the whole of his property to 
his cousin Walter, constable of England, who afterwards during the life time of his son Miles se.tled 
it upon his grandson Walter de Hereford. In the year 1155 Walter occurs as high sheriff for the 
county of Gloucester, and the eleventh of Henry the Second for Herefordshire, of which county 
he is the first recorded sheriff. In lieu of the hundred shillings settled on the monks of Gloucester 
by his brother earl Roger, he granted them six virgates of land. 


Upon the death of Walter, the lordship of Brecknock became the inheritance of Henry de 
Hereford, third son of Milo, which however he lived to enjoy only for a short time. Dugdale says 
he was killed by one Send the son of Donwald, near Arnold's castle in upper Wentland, and that 
he was buried in Lantoni prima ; according to Leland, in Lantoni near Gloucester. Whether this 
shiver was an English or a Welshman does not appear; probably from the place of Henry's death 
he was of the latter country, and perhaps Senel the son of Donwald is an anglicism for Sitsyllt 
ap Dyfnwal, a man of considerable property and weight at that time in the neighbourhood of 
Abergavenny Dr. Powel in his Welsh history, observes that towards the latter end of the year 
1172, 'Sitsyllt ap Dyfnwal and Jeuan ap Sitsyllt ap Riryd got the castle of Abergavenny upon the 
sudden and took the king's garrison prisoners.' Maddux in his llininiin. Anglkana speaks of certain 
lands called Donewalde's lands within the town of Abergavenny, as having been the subject of a 
legal dispute in the time of Edward the First : these were undoubtedly Tyr Dyfnwal or Dyfnwal's 

mahel's character and death. 

" Mahel de Hereford, who received his christian name in compliment to his gallant but unfor- 
tunate and disinherited uncle, succeeded his brother Henry, upon his death without issue. He is 
painted as a, monster of rapacity and boundless ambition and avarice, ' inhumana prse cseteris 
crudelitate notabilis,' but his oppressions and most flagrant acts of injustice were particularly directed 
against David Fitzgerald, the second of that name, bishop of Saint David's, whom he distressed by 

1 Leland says " there was a brother of Roger erle of Hereford of Flealey." Itin. vol. 8. p. 66. Leland or his informant is 
that was kyllyd in the veri place whore the abbaye syns was incorrect, the table was must likely meant to commemorate the 
made. Ther was a table of the iiiatior hunygod up in the church death of Milo at tliis place. 


every means in his power, encroaching upon liis property, and harassing his tenants, insomuch that 
he finally drove the prelate out of the country, according to Giraldus Cambrensis, who gives the 
following account of Mallei's death. "It happened (says he) that while Mahel was upon a visit 
to Walter ilc Clifford at Brendlais castle, the building by some accident took fire, and lie was mortally 
wounded by a rtone which fell from the top of the principal tower upon his head: upon this, he 
immediately dispatched messengers to the bishop whom he had persecuted, and solicited his return, 
at the same time exclaiming in a turn' of deep anguish, <>h father and bishop of our souls! thine 
Holy one hath exercised too severe a vengeance upon me, not waiting for the conversion of a sinner, 
but rather hastening his death and utter destruction; and having frequently repeated these words, 
accompanied with g oans and deep sighs, he ended his life and tyranny together before he had completed 
the ( List year of his possession of his father's property, and died the herald of his own confusion.' 
This catastrophe is noticed by Camden in his description of Gloucestershire, as well as by Sir Robert 
Atkyns in his history of that county but they arc both evidently mistaken as to the scene of action, 
which they place at St. Briavels or Breulais in the forest of Dean, whereas Giraldus, professedly 
writing from Brecknockshire, calls the castle Brendlais, which rowel in a note explains Brunellys, 
now written Bronllys, llrynllys and I! wynllys: it lies within less than half a mile of Talgarth in that 
county, and both Leland and Dugdale inform us. that the Cliffords were the antient lords and pro- 
prietors of that fortress. 

"However strongly this monster Mahel might have been prejudiced against the bishop of Saint 
David's, yet out of regard to the health of his own soul and the souls of his father, mother, brothers 
and ancestors, and out of respect to Geoffrey tin' cook, an old servant of the family, whom his brother 
Henry had converted into a monk, he granted a charter to the monastery of Brecon, whereby he 
confirmed all former gifts to them, and gave five shillings a year towards purchasing lights and other 
purposes, which he supposed would be beneficial to the brotherhood. This charter, among others, 
is attested by Humphrey de Bohun his nephew, Walter de Clifford, Ralph de Buscheville (Basker- 
ville). Philip ile Burghull (now called Burfield) the butler, Roger Picart and William Weldeboef, now 
written Walbeoff. William, the youngest son of Milo, died without issue, during the life time of his 

eldest brother: so that the male line being now extinct, the sisters coheiresses succeeded to the 

inheritance. Margaret, the eldest daughter, married Humphrey de Bohun, who in her right succeeded 
to the constableship of England and to the lordship and patronage of Llantoni ; he was also created 
earl of Hereford. Bertha married Philip de Breos, lord of Builth. 1 which he acquired by conquest ; 
he had with her the lordships of Brecknock, Abergavenny and Goirer ; and Lucy married Henry 
Fitzherbert, whose possessions were chiefly in and near the forest of Dean, and who had also other 
lauds in England. 

"The family of Bins — (as it is written in Stowe's roll, copied from Scriven's .MS. though spelt 
differently Breos, de Breos, Breosa, Braiosa, Braosa and de Braosa 2 by different authors) — came 
into England with the Conqueror and settled first in the county of Sussex. William the father 
of Philip, our first Breconshire lord of that name married the wealthy heiress of Johel de Totness 
and Barnstable in the county of Devon, with whom he obtained a, splendid fortune: that his lands 
in England were of no small extent is evident from the general survey in Doomsday Book, by which 
it appears, thai he possessed the lordship of Sudcote in Berkshire. Essage in Wilt-. Todeham and 
Bockeham in Surrey, half a hyde of hinds in Petham hundred in Hants, twelve lordships in Dorset- 
shire and no less than forty our in Sussex, among which Brambre, where he obtained a licence t.> 
build a castle, was his principal residence : he settled the churches of St. Nicholas at Brambre, St. 
Peter at Sele, St. Nicholas at Shoreham ami St. Peter at Vipont. all in the county of Surrey, upon 
the monks of St. Florence de Salmure, more commonly called Somars in France. 


" His only son and successor Philip gave to the abbey of Lewes four of the salt works in the 
same town and confirmed some donations made them by his father. In the ninth of William Pubis. 

Id entei in( i Hi- lands of Will n ''■: ■ h n mi 

■.I. i tn do .m, part ol ■. .h, I that when the 

's justice itinerant i an i I.I pleas ol the .Town. 

i Of the 

expedition o 

f this Philip de B 

reo? into Wal 

,- and liis 

conquest o 

march in 1 
tins countr 

I Builth we 1 
irobable tha 
when he en 
O'JS or there 
v of Builth . 

iave ii ther i 

t he likewise ai 
me to the assist 
abouts. and that 
Lit.r he hail rodi 

in ■■ 1 lien 
lie was ivwa 
i ed the inha 

i is by no 

ml New 
r.1-1 with 
bit ints to 

subjection. lordship 

- In a charter of king John, one of this familj is called able pi 

Braiosa : by this instrument John -rants to Win. de Braiosa and Conqueror, which 

lus heirs, that neither sheriff ur other minister "I the crown merit in Bngland. 

of William" 

dav al 

m tl.i- 

hey i 

amih had i 

ii ider- 
ith tlit 

n_ til 

ie aftei theii 


Philip de Breos was one of those noblemen who adhered to the king against Robert Court-hose 
duke of Normandy. In the fourth of Henry the First (a.d. 1104) he came to an agreement with 
the abbot of Feschamp at Salisbury, in the presence of the king and queen, concerning some claims 
made by the abbot to certain lands at Steyning in Sussex, a cell to Feschamp. Having afterwards 
rebelled against his sovereign, his property was confiscated and his possessions were seized by the 
crown. By his marriage with Bertha the daughter of Milo Fitzwalter, he became in her right, 
seized of tlie lordships of Abergavenny, Brecknock and Gower, and to his sword and the favor 
of Bernard Newmarch be owed the dominion over the country of Builth : he died early in the reign 
of Henry the Second, in what year is not known, leaving two sons, William and Philip. William, 
to whom the lordships of Brecknock and Abergavenny, together with the remainder of his father's 
immense possessions, descended, married Maud daughter of Reginald de St. Waleri, with whom he 
had the manor of Tctbury in Gloucestershire. This lady is the Semiramts of Breconshire ; she is 
called in the pedigrees, as well as in King John's letter or manifesto, Maud de Haia, either from 
her having rebuilt this castle or from its being principally the place of her residence : most likely 
for the former reason, for within the limits of the county of Brecon she is an Ubiquarian. Under 
the corrupted name of MoP Walbee we have her castles on every eminence and her feats are 
traditionally narrated in every parish. She built (says the gossips) the castle of Hay in one night ; 
the stones 2 for which she carried in her apron. While she was thus employed, a small pebble, 
about nine feet long and one foot thick, dropped into her shoe : this she did not at first regard, 
but in a short time, finding it troublesome, she indignantly threw it over the river Wye, into the 
Llowes churchyard in Radnorshire (about three miles oil), where it remains to this day 3 precisely 
in the position it fell, a stubborn memorial of the historical put, to the utter confusion of all sceptics 
and unbelievers. It is very extraordinary what could have procured to Maud this more than mortal 
celebrity : she was no doubt a woman of masculine understanding and spirit, yet her exploits in 
Breconshire, where she is so famous, are not detailed either by history or tradition, except in the 
absurd tale just related. King John in his declaration against de Breos seems to hint pretty clearly 
that the gray mare was the better horse, and it is evident, whatever her merit was, that she had con- 
siderable influence and interest in this county, as her name, though corrupted, is familiar to every 
peasant, while her husband's is unknown, or known only to be detested. 


"In third Henry TI. we find William de Breos, the husband of this virago, paying a fine of one 
hundred marks of silver for his moiety of the manor of Barnstaple, of which his grandfather Johel 
de Totnais or Totness for some misdemeanour had been deprived by William Rufus ; it is probable 
therefore, that Totness was also at this time restored to de Breos. In the tenth year of this reign, 
William de Breos occurs as one of the witnesses to the recognition called the constitutions of 
Clarendon, and in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first of the same king he was sheriff of 

"Though the ]iower as well as the wealth of this baron was very considerable, we do not hear 
of his exploits during the reign of Henry the Second, with whom it seems he was in high favour. 
His younger brother Philip de Breos had a grant from that monarch of the whole province of North 
Minister in Ireland, except the city of Limerick, and the only preliminary required towards the establish- 
ment of his government was the conquest of the country. To assist him in his enterprise he took with 
him Milo de Cogan, William Fitzstephen, and about four hundred and twenty horse and foot; they 
marched to the borders of the Shannon, when finding that the taking possession of the land was 
not a mere ceremony, but might be attended with some hard righting, they returned ingloriously 
to their sovereign, to relate the misfortunes of their expedition and to exaggerate the difficulties 
they encountered. Henry however was not to be deterred or frightened by bugbears ; he embarked 
in person for Ireland, and with him went the defeated Philip de Breos, who either encouraged by 
the presence of his sovereign, or ashamed of his former misconduct, now exerted himself in wiping off 
the disgrace which attached to him. and by the assistance of Henry seated himself firmly in his 
government, in possession of which his benefactor left him, as well as several other English knights, 
who had obtained territories in that kingdom : and it will be seen hereafter, that upon the death 
of his brother without issue, it descended or was granted to his brother William, who lived (during 

i Maud is written and pronounced Mallt in Welsh; Leland Newmarch gave II..' tythes of this parish. The fable of her 

pulls her Malt Albere Marabrttn. and says she was reputed a carrying (In- stones mid completing the castle of Hay in one 

witch. night, perhaps means that sin' collected, or rather extorted from 

2 A rude stone effigy was in the churchyard of Hay, said to her tenants a sum sufficient for the purpose in a very short time, 

be Mol. Walbee's though we believe it to be a monk's, perhaps :l For engraving of this stone see The History of Radnorshire 

one of the priors of Brecon, to which house, it has been seen, (Dnvies and Co., Brecon: 1907.) 


Philip's first attempt) at the eastle of Abergavenny, where he and his ' murdering ministers ' involved 
themselves in such a scene of butchery as fortunately for mankind has seldom been paralleled 


'•And while it is with pain the historian records this tale of blood, he may perhaps be pardoned 
if he expresses a satisfaction in consigning the memory of this hypocritical villain to perpetual 

" It has been seen that about five years previous to this time, the eastle of Abergavenny had been 
delivered by the treachery of the officers of the King of England, into the hands of Sitsyllt ap 
Dyfnwal and Jeuan ap Ryrid, two noblemen of Gwent, after which a warfare ensued between them 
and Henry the Second, which was terminated in the year 1176. The castle was restored to William 
ili' P.i'eos. and Sitsyllt and the associate of Ryrid received the king's pardon, through the intercession 
of Rhys ap Griffith of Dinas fawr or Dinevor. It was to congratulate Rhys upon this reconciliation. 
according to Powel and the Welsh chronicles, though Lord Lyttleton from Ralph de Diceto says 
it was to notify to Sitsyllt and his adherents an act of the English Parliament prohibiting them 
from wearing arms or offensive weapons, that they became the guests of William at his castle. At 
first they were treated with the hospitality they expected, but in the midst of their conviviality, 
their host, either from a design to provoke a quarrel or in obedience to the instructions of his master 
the King of England, made them the degrading proposal of surrendering their weapons and sub- 
mitting without the power of defence to his will: to this the Britons refused with indignation to 
accede, whereupon the assassin gave a signal to his journeymen, who entering the room, slew the 
unsuspecting and unarmed Welshman, and not satisfied with this, they accompanied their employer 
to Sitsyllt's castle in the neighbourhood of Abergavenny, where taking his wife prisoner, they 
murdered her son Cadwaladr before her face and set fire to the mansion, or as others say, rased it 
to the ground. 

"Lord Lyttleton mentions this transaction with great coolness of temper, without even expressing 
his indignation at the horrid scene, though he seems to be rather surprised that Henry the Second 
dil not notice it; while Giraldus Cambrensis hints, that it was perpetrated by the orders of the 
English Monarch, an insinuation which should not have been thrown out without better proofs to 
justify him than have hitherto appeared to the world, and without which no man who 
reflects upon the different characters of William de Breos and his supposed employer, will acquit 
the one or accuse the other, however he may condemn Henry for his negligence or rather 
partiality in overlooking the offence. But the measure of this monster's iniquity was not yet lull, 
though he never afterwards hail an opportunity of converting his castle into a slaughter house and 
murdering en masse; for about the year litis, we find him using the same artful and nefarious 
stratagem to entrap a chieftain of Brecknockshire, against whom he entertained a secret grudge. 
Trahaern Vychan, or the little, lord of Llangorse, one of the grandsons of Gwrgan ap 
Bleddin ap Maenarch, was invited to meet him to confer in a friendly manner upon business 
Uususpicious of treachery and of course unprepared for defence, the descendant of Cradoe of I he 
Strong A in instantly determined to attend to the request, or to obey the command of his powerful 
neighbour and superior, who met him upon his road not far from Brecknock, ordered his blood 
hounds to seize him. tied him to a, horse's tail and in that situation ignominiously and cruelly dragged 
him through the streets of that town, after which he was beheaded and his body suspended upon a 
gallows for three successive days. 


"Repeated acts of tyranny and oppression will make even cowards brave: how strong and im- 
placable then must have been the resentment of the Welsh, 'a people brave and irascible, bred upon 
their mountains, the indigenous children of freedom ' ? The eastle of Abergavenny was unable 
to withstand the fury of the men of Gwent, wdio levelled it with the ground, and the whole garrison 
left there by de Breos were either killed or taken prisoners; the fortress of Dingatstow near Mon- 
mouth, belonging to de Poer (at that time sheriff of Herefordshire), was reduced to a heap of ruins, 
and it is said, he himself with nine persons of wealth and power in the neighbourhood, were driven 
by the assailants into the castle ditch and there slain. Upon the assassination of Trahaern, 
Gwenwynwyn prince of l'owis, who was connected with the family of Trahaern by marriage, deter 
mined to avenge his death : he therefore with a strong army entered into Elvel in Radnorshire 
and laid seige to Painscastle in that district, then the property of de Breos, vowing he would reduce 
to ashes the whole country from thenee to Severn ;\ a sacrifice as he conceived too small to the manes 
of his butchered kinsman. The want of miners il however and the insufficiency of his implements 
of attack, which were but ill adapted to the purpose, delayed his operations so long, that the 


besieged found time to solicit aid from England. Being reinforced by a strong body of troops from 
thence and assisted by the united powers of the lords Marchers, their spirits were revived, though 
they at the same time proposed terms of accommodation ; these were rejected with disdain by 
Gwenwynwyn, who renewed his former menaces. Policy now suggested to the English lords the 
enlargement of Griffith son of lord Rhys, who called himself prince of South Wales, and whom they 
knew to bean enemy to Gwenwynwyn: upon his release, he immediately collected together a number 
of his partisans, joined the English and marched to the assistance of the besieged garrison of Pains- 
castle. A bloody engagement took place in which the Prince of Powis was defeated. Mat hew 
Paris says this battle was fought before Maud's castle called by Camden the castle of Matilda in 
Colwen, and he tells us that three thousand seven hundred Welshmen fell in that combat. Thus 
escaped for a time the cruel and oppressive lord of Brecknock, but short lived was his triumph. 


" Soon after this time, we shall see fortune entirely forsake him or only shewing her face tran- 
siently, to bring to painful recollection the days when she loaded him witli her gifts : we shall sec 
him a fugitive and a wanderer, banished from his country and possessions, or only visiting them as 
an outlaw, under continual apprehensions and at the peril of his life; but before ««■ come to this 
period, it is but justice to observe that he appears to have entertained something like sentiments 
of gratitude towards his sovereign Henry the Second, as well as to his successor Richard the First, 
for Stowe informs us, that in 1202 he was taken prisoner by John King of England while supporting 
the right _ of Arthur the lawful heir to the crown. Froin this imprisonment, the usurper either 
from motives of pity or policy, soon released him. but he continued ever afterwards (perhaps not 
without reason) suspicious of him, though he loaded him with favours during the first four or five 
years of his reign ; and upon the breaking out of the war between John and his barons, he 
demanded de Breos's sons as hostages for his fidelity. Upon this occasion his wife Maud de St. Walery, 
whom some of our chroniclers call a malapert woman, desired the king's messengers who made the 
application, to inform their master, that she would not trust her children to one who had murdered 
his own nephew : this answer, which was certainly more flippant than prudent, so enraged the king, 
that her husband was instantly banished the realm (circa 1209), and his property declared to be 
confiscated for the use of the crown, as Matthew Paris and all the English writers say. It no doubt 
contributed towards his disgrace, but let us hear the complaints of John, which as they never have 
been contradicted, there is no reason to disbelieve ; they are contained in a letter or manifesto, making 
known to his subjects ' how ill William de Breosa had conducted himself ; ' — ' quam male se gesseral 
Willielmus de Breosa.' 


"As the memorial is in fact a history of the latter years of this baron's life, we trust no apologv 
is necessary for its insertion here nearly' at length, or at least preserving the whole of its material 
contents. The first grievance recited by the king is, that William owed him on his (John's) 
departure from Normandy five thousand marks for the province of .Minister, demised to him by the 
crown, and for which he paid no rent for five years ; he also owed five years' rent for the city 
ot Limerick, of this sum he only paid or accommodated the king with a hundred pounds at Rouen 
on account. As to the debt due lor Minister, several terms were assigned on which he was required 
to pay it, yet he neglected to attend to them, wherefore after five years' neglect of payment, according 
to the custom of England and the law of the exchequer, it was resolved that his 'goods should lie 
distrained until he made satisfaction for his debt to the crown; but the delinquent (having by some 
means obtained information of what was intended) caused all his property to he removed out' of the 
way, so that no effects could he found upon which the distress could he' made. Orders were there- 
fore sent to Gerard de Athiis, the king's bailiff in Wales, that William's goods and chattels in Wales 
should he distrained 'till the debt was paid. Alarmed at this determination, his wife Maud de Haia, 
his nephew William earl Ferrars, Adam de Porter who married his sister, and many of his friends 
met the king at Gloucester and requested that William might he permitted to have an interview 
with his majesty, who coming to Hereford, in the meantime received possession from de Breosa of 
his castles of Hay, Brecknock and Radnor, to be held by the crown unless the debt was paid on a 
day appointed by himself, and besides, as hostages for his punctuality, he delivered up to the king 
two sons of William de Breosa the younger, a son of Reginald de Breosa and four sons of his tenants, 
yet notwithstanding this, he paid no more attention to the present than to his former engagements ; 
for in a little while afterwards, when Gerard de Athiis commanded the constables of the castles 
surrendered by de Breos to the king, to collect the customary payment tor the use of the crown, find- 
ing that the officers, to whom the care and custody of those forts had been committed were then 


absent, he came with William the younger. Reginald and their sons and a vast multitude of people, 
and laid seige to those (luce fortresses in one day. and though he did not meet with the success 
he expected, yet he burnt our half of the town of Leominster, a cell belonging to the abbey of 
Reading held under the crown in free alms, and wounded and slew most of the king's ministers there. 

"When Gerard de Athiis was informed of these proceedings, having collected together as many 
of the king's subjects as the time would permit, he marched to the relief of the besieged places, 
whereupon William de Breos instantly retreated and tied into Ireland with his wife and family, 
where they were hospitably received by William .Marshal and Walter de Laci, although both of them 
had been commanded on their allegiance not to entertain or maintain the enemies of the King of 
England, who might fly hither to avoid payment of the debts due to their sovereign. Afterwards 
they sent to the king and undertook that William should appear before him on a certain day, to 
answer for his debt and the outrages he had committed, and in ease of his neglecting so to do, 
they engaged to send him out of Ireland and never to receive him again; yet neither he nor they kept 
their word. It was now determined no longer to sutler these excesses with impunity, and the king 
having collected his army, resolved to embark for Ireland to punish his rebellious subjects; but before 
his majesty could reach the place of his destination, William de Breos went to the king's bailiff 
in Ireland and petitioned for letters of safe conduct to enable him to make his peace with his lawful 
sovereign. These were granted on his being sworn to proceed without loss of time to meet the 
king, without any circuity in his route or turning out of his road, either to the right or left; yet 
when he arrived in England, as his family were then in Ireland, he immediately proceeded to Here- 
fordshire and collected as many of the king's enemies as he could prevail upon to join his standard 
and to espouse his quarrel. 


" When the king heard this in the course of his voyage, being then upon the Irish sea, he determined 
to come on shore at Pembroke ; here lie was again requested by de Breos's nephew. William earl 
Ferrars, that he might be permitted to go to speak to his uncle to know his intentions. This was 
likewise granted, and one Robert de Burgate, a knight of the household, directed to accompany him, 
who returning, begged leave that William might once more be suffered to approach the royal presence, 
which was allowed him ; he then came as far as the water of Pembroke, and offered by his mes- 
sengers forty thousand marks to be restored into peace and favour, 'yet we (says John) knew full 
well I hat it was not in Ins power, but his vi/r's who was in Ireland, and that, if he was in 
earnest, we would accompany and supply him with a safe conduct or passport for that kingdom, 
to enable him to talk with his wife and friends about the amount of the fine he was to pay, and 
the ratification of the terms to lie agreed upon ; and we further undertook that if we could not 
agree upon those terms, we would send him to the same spot in Wales on which he then stood, 
and in the same condition." These reasonable proposals were rejected by de Breos, who remained 
in the principality, doing all the mischief he could to the king and his subjects, burning a mill 
and setting lire to three cottages. 


"In the meantime Maud of Hay, hearing of the king's expedition to Ireland, fled to Scotland, 
where she was taken prisoner by Duncan de Carve, whom the king calls his cousin and friend, and 
who immediately sent him information of this occurrence, which he received on the day the castle 
of Carrickfergus was surrendered to him. .Maud's eldest son William, his wife and two sons, and 
her daughter (whose name was Maud) the wife of Roger Mortimer, were also made prisoners at 
the same time, but Hugh de Laei and Reginald de Breos her third son, made their escape. To 
conduct them into his presence. John sent two of his knights John de Courci and Godfrey de 
Cracombe, with a company of bowmen, and when they were brought before him 'this very Maud 
(ipsa Matilda says John) began to talk about making us satisfaction, and offered us forty thousand 
marks for the safety and preservation of the lives and limbs of her husband and his adherents, and 
that his castles might be restored to him ; to this we agreed, yet in three days she repented of her 
engagement, alleging that she was unable to perform them. Afterwards when we returned into 
England, we brought her and her family with us in our custody, and now she again offered us forty 
thousand marks upon the same conditions as formerly, and ten thousand marks as a fine for her 
departure from her first proposal; this we likewise consented to accept, but to convince her that 
she was to adhere more steadily to her undertakings in future, we told her. that as often as she 
receded from the present compact, she should pay an additional sum of ten thousand marks. To 
this she agreed, and the whole transaction was reduced into writing and confirmed and ratified by 


her oath and seal, and the oaths and seals of her party, as well as of our earls and barons who were 
present at the treaty, and days were at the same time assigned for the payment thereof ; for the 
punctual performance of which she and hers were to remain in custody, until the whole debt was 
paid by instalments.' 


"The king then proceeds to state, that after William de Breosa's breach of his engagements, 
when he entered Herefordshire and burnt and laid waste the country, he was proclaimed a traitor 
and an outlaw by the sheriff of Herefordshire, according to the law and custom of England ; but 
that upon the faith of this compact with his wife, he (the king) wrote to that officer to postpone 
further proceedings against him till the monarch's return from Ireland : that upon his arrival in 
England, Maud and her family were prisoners at Bristol, where she petitioned (hat her husband 
might have leave to speak to her in private, that he obtained this permission, that he approved 
of the terms his wife had made, and that in order to enable him to raise the money promised to 
be paid, Geoffrey Fitzpeter the king's justice was sent to accompany him (a favour with which de 
Bre-osa would have readily dispensed, for upon the first instalment becoming due, lie quitted the 
kingdom and left his Majesty's justice in the lurch). The rescript then concludes by saying, that 
upon being informed of this unexpected piece of intelligence, the king sent Geoffrey Fitzpeter, the 
king's brother the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Winchester and other noblemen to Maud, to know 
from her what was to be done in this dilemma, and what she and her husband proposed in the 
business, and that she answered explicitly, she would not pay one farthing, as she had no more 
money or money's worth in her possession than twenty four marks in silver, twenty four besants 1 
and eleven ounces of gold ; so that neither she or her husband or any person for them, ever paid the 
debt to the king, or any part of it. 


" This writing is attested by William Earl Ferrars, Henry Earl of Hereford, and several other noble- 
men, so that if this statement be true, of which (as has been before observed) there is little reason 
to doubt, King John was fully justified in his proceeding against William de Breos. independently 
of the malapert- speech of his wife Mol Walbee, which at the same time it is probable he neither 
forgot or forgave ; and in revenge for this insult as well as her repeated breach of faith, he in- 
humanly inclosed her and her eldest son William in a tower at Windsor, or as some say Corfe castle, 
where they were starved to death, while her husband was compelled to take refuge in France, and 
to submit to the loss of the whole of his property and possessions. In this country he survived some 
time in the humiliating habit of a beggar, tormented by a wounded conscience and the miseries of 
poverty : and having in some measure expiated in this life, the crimes he had committed in his 
prosperous days, died at Gorboyl or Corboyl in Normandy, or rather in the Isle of France, on the 
9th day of August in the year 1212 or 1213, from whence his body was conveyed to Paris and 
honourably interred in the abbey of St. Victor's there. 


"It is not necessary to paint the character of this monster, his own actions have unequivocally 
pourtrayed it ; but is it not extraordinary that such a man as Giraldus Cambrensis sin mid from any 
motives have been induced to become his panegyrist, or to prostitute his pen in his defence ? Yet 
so it is, for he tells us, that 'though as a man he sometimes erred, for he who sins not has more 
of the divine than of human nature in him, yet he always prefaced his discourse with the name 
of the Lord: in the name of God be this done, in God's name be that performed, if it please 
God, if it is the will of God, or by the grace of God it shall be so, and if he was on a journey, 
whenever he came into a church or saw a cross, he immediately betook himself to prayers, even 

1 Bisantia, Besants, or rather Byzants, from their having been handed her for her interference, and said, she talked like a foolish 

coined at Byzantium during the time of the Christian emperors, woman, that lie was ready to obey the king in all his lawful 

were a gold coin of uncertain value. Besants are now only commands, yet that he did not see the necessity of giving pledges 

known in heraldry and are represented by little round yellow for Ins fidelity." (Matthew Paris. Edn. of 1571. p. 303.) Speed 

balls or surfaces. says. Maud endeavoured to pacify the king : and to induce him to 

- The words 'if Maud, as related by Matthew Paris, are pre- forgive her offence, she made a present to his queen of four 

ceded by a sarcasm, which none but a' monk would have made ; hundred kine and .me bull, all milk white with red ears. Binglej . 

" Maud Ins wife (says he) snatching the words out ..f hi, mouth, in his Animal Biography, vol. L'. p. so. describes wild rattle to 

answered with a womanlike flippancy, I'll deliver my buys be invariably white, the muzzle black and the whole inside of the 

to your master king John, because he basely murdered his ear, and one third part, of the outside from the tip downwards 

nephew Arthur, whom in honour ho ought to have preserved red. 
and protected ; her husband, (the author proceeds to say) repre- 



though he was engaged at the time in conversation with any person, whether ric'u or poor; and when 
he oiel children be always saluted them, hoping to be repaid by the prayers of innocents. His 
wife Maud (Giraldus also tells us) was not only chaste, but prudent and remarkable for her economy 
and domestic good qualities. But though the archdeacon was a man of learning and knowledge of 

the world, he was a high churchman ; and the most meritorious service that could be rendered 
Christianity or religion in those days was a liberal contribution towards t lie support of its ministers. 
Giraldus's respect for William de Breos may be more readily accounted for than commended, when 
we learn that lie. was a considerable benefactor to the priories ol Brecknock and Abergavenny, as 
well as to the monks of Lira in Normandy. To the first he granted two charters which are on 
record; by the former lie gives his body to the church of St. John the apostle and evangelist in 
Brecknock, to be conveyed thither from whatever place it might please God he should die, whether 
in England or Wales, 'that being tin church which beyond oil others he reverenced, because upon St. 
John, after God <tn>/ tin holy Mary, In- placed his greatest trust : he then confirms the charters of his 
predecessors, and recommends the church to the care of all those who owe him faith or friendship. 
and conjures them, by the love of God, to promote its welfare with all tilings needful. He after- 
wards proceeds to grant to all persons belonging to the church of St. John, as well burgesses* 
as other, privileges and exemptions from all levies and contributions payable- to chief constables, 
and from all tines for common trespasses- and defaults, and L'ives to the monks the goods and 
chattels of all persons 4 apprehended in the act of .stealing, or who shall be convicted of any other 
crime, at the same time reserving to himself and the officers of his court the right of determining 
and pronouncing all judgments affecting life or limb. 

By the second charter he confirms to the same monks a certain demesne which Ralph de 
Bascheville gave them within his barony, called the mill of Trosalref and its stream in Leveni : by 
reference to Baskerville's grant and his wife's confirmation, this will he found to he a mill called 
Trosdref Mill upon the river Llvf'ni or Lleveni. This confirmation seems to have been necessary 
at the time, as we find by a document in the Bodleian Library, that a dispute arose, cither between Ralph 
Baskerville or his wife or widow the lady Nest, the daughter of Gryffyth, and the prior and monks 
of Brecon, concerning the profits of the mill of Trosdref upon Lirini as it is called in Ralph's 
charter, which was compromised and the right of the prior and convent established. The site of 
this mill is not now known, but it appears to have been part of the possessions of Bernard New 
march, and, after his decease, of Milo Fitzwalter, from whom it descended to his grand-daughter 
Bertha, who married Adam de la Port, who had issue by her. Sibil, the first wife of Sir Ralph 
llaskerville, 5 in whose right he became possessed of this property, as well as the manor of Eardisley 
in Herefordshire. 

•'The honour* of Brecknock with its dependencies, together with Abergavenny anil the whole 
territory of Overwent, upon the attainder of the late baron de Breos, escheated to the crown ; and 
shortly after, John gave Blanllyfni, Talgarth and the Wallascherie' to his favourite, but ill— 

1 This is the first time we hear of burgesses of Brecknock ; 
few boroughs in this kingdom can boast of equal antiquity, or 
trace their incorporation i" as early a period. 

- In the Latin, " liberi suit scyris et hundredis." This word 
hundredus was used nor only for the hundred, or division now 
su called, but lor the levies or contributions paid to the Hun 
dredarius or chief constable, for the hotter support of his office; 
from which some persons ami religious houses las in the present 
case) were exempted by grant. So king Henry the Second to 
It. 'le S. Walleri, "lit terr.e stir sint quiet a ■ do seyns et hundroihs." 
Secta scyrarum aut hundredorum, signified suit of court or 
attendance on the county or hundred court. The truants of 
abbies, monasteries, and religious Unties, were not in general 
liable to this suit of court, if the lands were held in Frank- 
Almoigne. (Kennet.) 

;1 In the Latin ■• de placitis et omnibus querelis;" quietos 
esse de querelis, sometimes meant to be exempt from the cus- 
tomary fees, payable to the king or lord of a court for leave t" 
prosecute a plaint, but more frequently implied an exemption 
from tines lor common fcrepasses and defaults, as in the grant to 
Barham de S. Valleri, " ut terra- sua- suit quietae de omnibus 
placitis et quereli-'. excepto Murdredo et Latrocinio. Quatunr 
Hydas apud Cesterton liberas esse et quietas omnibus placitis 
et querelis excepto murdredo et latrocinio." (Kennet.) 

i There is clearly an omission here, and de Breos must have 
meant to have given the monks the goods of felons, taken and 

vioted within their liberties 
ie kind, with some variation, 
gesses of Brecknock as tale i 
The Welsh pedigrees take 

ir jurisdiction. A right of the 
Mil hereafter he found with the 
tli.- reign of Henry the Eighth. 

i noti f tins ladj . though it 

;he was wife to Ralph Baskerville as appears by the grant 
a!i. .vo referred t .. 

"'. In ancient tunes a baronial estate was distinguished by the 
different names of Baronia, Honor, Terra; Faedum, and some- 
times, though seldom, Tenen^entum. The baronial seigniory of 
an earl or other great men was commonly .-ailed an honour, 
whether Nested in tin- individual hv forfeiture or otherwise in the 
orown. Thus th.- barony of Adam de la I'ort. the Terra of Earl 
Simon ; of the honour of Huntingdon and (taut: the F.edum 
..f Wahull, the tenementum of >.-\.-ral barons, and the lordship 
.a" Brecknock is indiscriminately .ailed Faedum and Honor; de 
scutagio Pietavia?, Ledum Willielmi do Braiosa. (Madox's 
liar. m. Angtii . p. 5 and 53.) 

' The lordship of Talgarth, like many others under the lords 
Marchers, was divided into English and Welsh, so called from 
two separate courts held for the government of the people of 
dill. -rent nan us and languages; that f.r the English was styled 

Englishcheria. tin- otl for the Welshmen Walleseheria, unde 

Walladiiri-. the Welshery or Welsh Talgarth. Talgarth first 
mentioned above, means that part, of the lordship where the 
English laws prevailed 


advising counsellor Fitzherbert, who was intitled, next to the de Breos family, to the possessions 
of Milo Fitzwalter in Breconshire, in right of his mother Lucia one of the daughters of that earl. 


' The eldest surviving son of William de Breos was Giles bishop of Hereford, promoted to that 
see in the second year of the reign of John (A.D. 1200). This prelate inherited all the violence and 
party spirit which marked the character of his detestable father, and upon all occasions stood 
forward in opposition to the crown ; he was a zealous defender of the pontifical authority, and 
when the nation was put under an interdict, for what the pope was pleased to term the king's 
contumacy in refusing to acknowledge Stephen Langton as primate of Canterbury, upon his Holiness's 
consecration of him to that dignity, he was obliged to quit the kingdom to avoid the resentment 
of his incensed sovereign : his revenues were confiscated and his person outlawed. He continued 
abroad till the year 1213, when upon his return into England he was restored to all his spiritual 
titles and possessions ; but his lay inheritance was still detained from him. To recover this, he joined 
in a confederacy with Llewelyn prince of North Wales and some English revolted barons, and sent 
his brother Reginald to demand restitution of his castles in Wales and the marches from those who 
held them under the crown. Such was the weakness of John's authority over the country at this 
time, that the castles of Abergavenny, IVneelli, and Grosmont were instantly surrendered to Reginald 
without oppostition, or (as far as can be now learned) the least shew or pretence of resistance : and 
when the bishop entered Wales in person, he obtained possession of Brecknock, Hay, and Builth, 
where he was readily acknowledged as the rightful lord, and at the same time he expelled Fitz- 
herbert and his dependants from the possession of Blanllyfni. 

"Thus far he had succeeded, when by the express injunctions of the pope (who flattered by the 
mean concessions of the king, now fulminated a bull of excommunication against Llewelyn and his 
adherents) he thought himself compelled to return to his allegiance, and having made a separate 
peace with the English monarch, his estate was by the royal mandate restored and confirmed to 
him. Stowe writes, that in the 15th King John, ' Gilo de Brawse the Sonne of William de Brawse 
received all his father's inheritance into his custodie, together with his nephew, till the child came 
of lawful age:' this nephew was John, nicknamed Tadodie, son of his eldest brother William, 
generally called Gwilym Gam or squinting Will, whose melancholy fate has been recounted. This 
child had been privately nursed by a Flemish woman in Gower, and to him afterwards descended 
that lordship, together with the family estates of Sussex, and certain lands in Monmouthshire, part 
of which he gave to the Abbey of Taley in Carmarthenshire as appears by Dugdale ; though the 
names by which they are described are so miserably spelt and disfigured that we can learn little 
more than that they were situate somewhere near Abergavennv. This branch of the family instead 
of verrv, ermine and gules, three bars azure, borne by the lords of Brecknock, assumed for arms, 
azure, a lion rampant, between ten crosses crosslets, Or. 


" It is uncertain whether William de Breos the elder was not alive at the very time the bishop 
obtained possession of his estates ; yet as these were forfeited to the Crown, no blame attaches to 
the latter either for claiming or accepting them, further than that it should seem, he ought to 
have accounted for the profits to his nephew, if he knew he was alive. But Giles was neither capable 
of enjoying, nor had he merit to deserve such a vast accession of fortune ; and though he cannot 
be charged with the atrocities that have perpetuated his father's infamy, it is doubtful whether 
the historian could have said thus much in his favour or allowed him even negative commendation, 
if providence had allotted him an equal length of days with his predecessor. He was evidently 
a fickle, proud, and imperious baron, at the same time that he appears to have been an obedient 
son of the church ; he gave certain lands in Colwall (perhaps Craswall) to the cathedral church 
of Hereford, but directed that the rents thereof should be applied to the celebration of his anni- 
versary for ever, and died at Gloucester November 17, 1215, leaving his immense possessions to his 
brother Reginald. On the north side of the choir of the cathedral at Hereford is the figure of a 
bishop pontifically habited, his right hand giving the benediction, in his left a crosier and an em- 
battled tower of two stories, on the wall over him is painted this inscription : ' Ds, Egipivjs de 
Bruse Epus Heref, Op.t, A.D 1215.' 

"From the tower in his hand. Bishop Godwyn conjectures that he built the West tower of that 
edifice, which fell to the ground in 1780, about five hundred and eighty years after its erection. 


"It has been seen how successfully the power of John (generally unfortunate) was hitherto exerted 
against the family of de Breos ; this can only be accounted for by circumstances and facts not generally 


known to the public. Upon the murder of Trahaern Vychan by William de Rrcn^, many of the 
family of the Welsh chieftain quitted the country and fled to England: those however who re- 
mained in Wales cherished and preserved an hereditary resentment against the assassin and his 
descendants. Trahaern left several brothers: one of them Cadivor ap Gwrgan aji Bleddin ap 
Maenarch had issue Meuric, whose son was Gwylym of GLyntawe in Brecknockshire, the father of 
Cradoc, generally called after the Welsh manner Cradoc ap Gwylym. This Cradoc had very con- 
siderably possessions in the very centre of de Breos's property in this country; the quarrel therefore 
between John and the lord of Brecknock fixed him firmly in the interest of the English monarch, 
to whom he adhered in all his wars with his barons, and who gave him for arms, as a reward for 
his fidelity, azure, a buck tripping, argent, unguled and attired, anil bearing between his horns an 
imperial crown. Or, which are borne by most of his descendants at this day. To this eternal enemy, 
this troublesome neighbour, aided as he was by all the old inhabitants of Brecknockshire and the 
neighbouring counties, who combined to support the cause anil to avenge the murder of one of the 
descendants of their ancient reguli, may in a great measure be attributed the ruin of de Breos and 
the good fortune of John. The successors of this Cradoc sunk into country gentlemen, and though 
they may have occasionally distinguished themselves for their valour or their talents, yet after him 
they never shone as chieftains or appeared as commanders of armies. Cradoc either died in the latter 
end of the reign of John, or else Reginald, who succeeded the bishop of Hereford in his wealth ami 
territories, found means to be reconciled to him. or perhaps the additional weight which Reginald 
de Breos derived from bis connexion with Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, prince of North Wall's, whose 
daughter Gwladis he married, or all these causes, contributed to his defence against the English 
monarch, and enabled him to resist his power with greater effect Mian his father; for during his 
government he will be seen combating the forces and resisting the attacks of John and his successor, 
with various success it is true, yet ultimately preserving his property, though frequently compelled 
to feel the weight, and to submit to the superior numbers of his adversary. 


'•Soon after he had been permitted to pay his homage, and had sworn fealty, Reginald (in A.D. 
121,1) engaged in a confederacy with Llewelyn and the English barons in resisting the power of his 
sovereign; who in the last year of his life gratified his revenge against his revolted subject, by 
marching into Wales and burning his castles of Hay' and Radnor. Upon the accession of Henry 
the Third, overtures were made to him to detach him from the interest of Llewelyn and his ad- 
herents; and among other articles it was proposed, that as a reward for his obedience, his English 
estates should be restored to him. to be held on the same terms as his brother Giles. He was caught 
by the bait, and thus allured, he forgot his father in law ; and regardless of the solemn engagements 
he had made with him, returned to England, when the castles and honours of Totness, Barnstaple, 
and other escheated property, were delivered up to him by the commands of the English monarch. 


■■Llewelyn justly incensed at such a breach of faith, laid siege to the town of Brecknock 'A.D. 
1217), which in the first transports of his rage In' determined to demolish, but afterwards, upon 
the humble petition of the burgesses, and the earnest intercession of Ins nephew Rhys, he was pre- 
vailed upon to spare it. and having taken five hostages for their future good behaviour, and one hundred 
marks as a compensation to his troops for their march, lie crossed the mountains towards Cower. 
In this journey lie was so greatly incommoded by the badness of the mads and the natural difficulties 
of the country, that several of his carriages were injured, and some of them lost in bogs and 
morasses. Reginald, now ashamed of his conduct and alarmed for the safety of his Welsh pos- 
sessions, came to Llanguik (a parish in Glamorganshire, adjoining Brecknockshire, called by Powel, 
Llangruc), where les father in law was then encamped, and tendered him his submission, promising 
never again to offend him. Llewelyn with the generosity of a Briton, not only instantly forgave 
his former perfidy, but received him with all the mildness of paternal affection, and in the plenitude 
of confidence, put him into possession of the strong fortress of Caerphili in the highlands of Gla- 
morganshire; he then proceeded with his troops to Dyved, and concluded the campaign with equal 
honour to himself and advantage to his country. The reconciliation between Reginald and Llewelyn 
was highly resented by the court of London, and in consequence of it. the lordships of Blanllyfni 

1 Unci; under his view of Hay castle in Brecknockshire (from what authority we know not) says that Louis the dauphin of 
France burnt tins fortress in the reign of John, but this appear- to be an error. 


and Talgarth, which since his brother's death, had been enjoyed by Reginald, were, by a royal 
mandate, retransferred to Peter Fitzherbert to whom they had been given upon the attainder of 
William de Breos. 


" Nothing further is known of the exploits of this baron, but we are informed that he died in 
1228, and that he was buried in the priory church at Brecknock. Churchyarde 1 gives us the 
following account of his monument, or what he supposed to be such. 

Cross logg'd l>v him as was the auneirnt tra<le 
I lebre, »s Ives in pict Lire as I troe 
Of most liard n I. whirl, wood as divers say 

A couching hound as harrol.U- thought full meete, 
In wood likewise lyes beneath his feete. 

"Poor Churchyarde! Wert thou permitted once more to revisit 'the glimpses of the moon,' 
thou would'st find that this most hard wood is so completely eaten by the worm, or worn away by 
time, that ' like the baseless fabric of a vision," not a wreck remains, nor does even the finger 
of tradition point to the spot whereon this monument stood. 

"In all probability Reginald employed the years that followed his reconciliation with Llewelyn 
in a crusade or pilgrimage to Jerusalem : for Dugdale says, one of his charters to the monks of 
Brecknock was granted after his return from the holy land, which also accounts for the auncient 
trade of placing his legs across on his monument. By his first charter he granted to the monks just 
mentioned a Crist mill at Llanfaes with all the tools and profits belonging to it, and he gave them 
the further liberty (if they should think it expedient) to remove it to any other situation on the 
stream ; he also granted them five shillings out of the revenues of the town of Brecknock, to pur- 
chase and provide a lamp 3 for the honourable celebration of the mass of the Virgin Maty daily, 
the same to be paid annually upon the festival of St. John the Baptist. 

"By the second charter he merely confirms the grants of his ancestors: to both these charters 
Giraldus Cambrensis occurs as a witness. 

" Gwladis the widow of Reginald de Breos afterwards married Ralph Mortimer lord of Melenvdd 
in Radnorshire, who about the year 1242 built the castles of Knueklas and Cefnllys in that county; 
with her, Llewelyn gave the neighbouring territories of Cerri and Cedewyn as a marriage portion. 
Reginald by a former wife, Grsecia or Grisseld daughter of William Bruere lord of Bridgwater, had 
issue, a daughter and two sons, named Mary, William and John. William, the eldest son, succeeded 
his father as lord of Brecknock, and as soon as he came into possession of his estate, discovered 
an attachment to the English interest, to which he steadily adhered during the whole of his life ; 
he was little pleased with the second marriage of his father's widow, and contested her right to the 
jointure assigned her by her husband, but it does not appear that he was successful in his opposition. 


''War still raged in the marches. The king of England heading his own troops made vigorous 
efforts to conquer the principality, while on the oilier hand Llewelyn strained every nerve to main- 
tain his independence. The English monarch, soon after his irruption into the borders, led his army 
into Cerri, in Montgomeryshire, to a place there, called by Matthew Paris, Cridia, and by Sir William 
Dugdale, Cridie, a corruption (as it should seem) of Creigiau or Creigau, the Rocks: after having 
in his march thither compelled the Wehh to raise the siege of Montgomery, then held by Hubert 
de Burgh. At Cerri much time was spent in cutting a wood of vast extent, which had frequently 
protected the Welsh from the incursions of the English, and in the centre of which was a castellated 
mansion, or as others say, a religious house, serving as a place of security to the inhabitants in case 
of a sudden irruption, or unexpected attack from an enemy. This building was reduced to ashes, 
and as its site was thought almost- inaccessible. Henry by the advice, and with the assistance of 
de Burgh, laid the foundation of a castle on the spot where it stood ; but Llewelyn, though hitherto 

1 Worthinesse of Wales, p. ~2. was charged nn the appropriations. In Normandy it was 

- Heralds. ordained that once in each year the priest and capellans should 

:1 Tin- Latin w,,nl Luminare in the original signifies a lamp. 001110 with their people in full procession to their mother church, 

a light or candle burning at the altar of any church or chappel, and there, every house offered on the altar a wax taper to enlighten 

lor the maintenance of which rout charges were frequently (he church. Bishop Godwin passed a constitution in the di sse 

granted to churches ami religious houses. It was sometimes of Lincoln, against the abuse of rents given for this purpose, 

stipulated that this luminary should burn all night an, I in 1 ho (Rennet's Parochial Antiquities.) This grant of do Breos ox- 

<la\ at canonical hours during the time of divine service. A plains (as we conceive) the origin of Lady's rent or rather our 

luminary at the great altar of the church was sometimes main- Lady's rent or paid to the corporation of Brecon. 

tained by the rector of the church, and in vicarages, the expence 

y, - 


repulsed, was very far from being subdued, nor was it his disposition to remain idle, while the 
enemy was incroaching upon his interior. With an eagle's eye, In- watched the movements, and in- 
tercepted the convoys of the king of England, and sometimes cut in pieces his foraging parties: 
in one of these excursions it was the fate of William de Breos to he made prisoner by the Welsh. 
and though the whole territory of Builth was otTered for his ransom, it was refused. 


"Henry, awakened by these losses, and having some reason to suspect treachery among his officers 
(who as it is said corresponded with the enemy, and made them acquainted with his plans), at length 
thought proper to abandon the enterprise, and to leave the intended fortress, sarcastically called 
Hubert's Folly, unfinished. After three months fruitless waste of time anil labour, and the loss of 
many men. during which period he had experienced nothing but mortification, he consented to a 
peace with Llewelyn, upon the disgraceful terms of levelling with the ground all the works he hail 
constructed and nearly completed at an immense expence. The Welsh prince on his part engaging 
to pay him three thousand marks, as a compensation for the materials left, on the spot, and consenting 
that in future the lord of Cerri should hold his territory as a fief of the crown of England. Henry 
was mean enough to make no stipulation in favour of his faithful servant de Breos, but suffered 
him to remain a prisoner with Llewelyn, who treated him as honourably and hospitably, as if he 
had been his invited guest. During this confinement he is said to have become enamoured of Juan 
the wife of Llewelyn, a natural daughter of John king of England, and to have been admitted to 
improper familiarities with her: this intrigue, it is added, remained a secret to Llewelyn until after 
the liberation of William, which was affected, as the Welsh chronicle says, by the surrender of the 
castle of Builth, and the payment of a large sum of money to Llewelyn, who being then informed 
of the infidelty of his wife, and determined to be revenged upon her gallant, invited him to a feast 
at his court. Upon his acceptance of this invitation, Llewelyn having him in his power, first re- 
proached the profligate with his crime, and then commanded him to he iguominiously dragged nut 
of his presence, and hanged (circa, 1230) without further trial or ceremony, upon a tree growing 
upon a neighbouring hill ; he was afterwards, as tradition says, buried in a field called from him, 
Cae Gwilym ddu. or black William's field (the name by which this William de Breos was known 
among the Welsh) ; this inclosure is in the parish of Llandegai. in Caernarvonshire. .Mr. IVnnani 
relates that at the entrance into a deep glen, near Aber in Caernarvonshire, there is a very large 
artificial mount, flat at the top and near sixty feet in diameter, widening towards the base, on 
which was once a castle belonging to Llewelyn: some foundations (he says) are yet to be discovered 
near the summit, and in digging there, the vestiges of buildings may be found. Here, it is said, 
the intrigue was detected, and the tradition of the country is, that a bard of the palace, accidentally 
meeting with the princess, who was ignorant of the fate of her paramour, thus impudently accosted 

Diccyn, Doccyn. wraig Llewelyn ! Hark*e dame I say what wilt thou 

Betharoed' am gweled Gwilym ? Give to see thy Gwilym new? 

To which this Englishwoman is supposed to have been such a fool as to have answered flip- 
pantly and in tolerable Welsh rhyme, 

Cymru Lloegr a Llewelyn Wales. England, ami Llewelyn too 

A rhown y gyil am gweled Gwilym. I d give my William's face t.i view. 

Upon receiving this answer, the bard, it is added, shewed her the body of her favourite suspended 
to the branch of a tree. 


" Such is the story as related by many historians and confirmed in some degree by tradition, but 
notwithstanding tins, there are many reasons which render it liable to suspicion, and make its veracity 
extremely doubtful: in the first place .Matthew Paris, who is one of the earliest authors that assigns 
the jealousy of Llewelyn as the cause of de Breos's death, gives it as a. report only, — ' ut dicebatur ' 
are his words — and he afterwards informs us, that among the charges against Hubert de Burgh 
were, stealing a precious stone from the king of England's treasury, which had the virtue of 
rendering the wearer of it invulnerable in battle, sending it to Llewelyn the king's enemy, and 
treacherously writing letters to tin samt Llewelyn, by which means thi princt of Wales was induced to 
hang William de Breos as a common thief. In the second place, she was (to use a common phrase) 
old enough to be de Breos's mother ; she was married to Llewelyn in 1 2t>l or the beginning of 
1202, supposing her therefore to be only twenty years of age at that period, she must have been 
nearly fifty when William's captivity commenced : it must also be observed, that though the heroes 
of those days were not very delicate in their amours, it i~ extremely improbable that de Breos should 
have intrigued with the wife of his father's father in law, and that David ap Llewelyn, the son of 


the adulteress should have afterwards married Isabel, the daughter of his mother's seducer. It seems 
also extraordinary that a woman, accused tauntingly of a crime of this nature, should avow it, and 
avow it without hesitation, to one, who from the familiarity of his address evidently meant to insult 
her, and that in a language too, in which it cannot be supposed she was an adept, unless her 
facility of acquiring the knowledge of it, far exceeded that of her countrywomen of later days, and 
lastly we are told, that her husband Llewelyn, in honour of her memory, soon after her death, in 
the year 1236, erected the Franciscan monastery of Llanfaes. in Anglesea, to enshrine her tomb ; 
so that upon the whole it may fairly be concluded that if any thing was said about this familiarity 
between William de Breos and the Welsh princess, it was only meant to furnish a pretence for his 
death, which the tortuous policy of the times suggested, . and to which, it is by no means improbable, 
Hubert de Burgh, from a personal quarrel, or to get rid of a troublesome neighbour, by falsehood 
or artifice contributed. 


"The imputation thrown upon the character of his sister, as well as the execution of so powerful 
a baron as William de Breos, exasperated the king of England, and for a moment called forth the 
exertions of this weak and fickle monarch : with all the pride therefore of an insulted sovereign, 
though without the valour or the talents to obtain his object, Henry sent to Llewelyn a peremptory 
summons to appear before him at Shrewsbury to answer for his unwarrantable conduct. Instead of 
obeying this mandate, the prince of North Wales entered the marches with an army, and extending 
his vengeance to the family and even to the tenants of the deceased, he laid waste the then de- 
fenceless territories of de Breos. Having taken the castle of Montgomery, still in the possession of 
de Burgh, who was left to defend the marches of Wales, he proceeded to make himself master of 
Brecknock and Rhaiadrgwy, and, after considerable loss, reduced the church and castle of Caerleon 
to ashes. The same fate attended the fortress of Neath and Cydweli ; the barbarities which ac- 
companied his progress are highly disgraceful to his character, and too disgusting to be related. 
About two years afterwards (A.D. 1233) he made a second inroad into Breconshire, destroying and 
laying waste the whole of that country. At length, however, he was foiled in his attack upon the 
castle of Brecknock, which was either more ably defended or more strongly fortified than in his former 
expedition ; for after a month's fruitless efforts he raised the siege, yet in order to leave a memento 
of his visit, he humanely set fire to the town and returned homewards with his booty. 


•The issue of William de Breos by his wife Eve, daughter of William Marshall earl of Pembroke, 
were live daughters. Isabel the eldest married David the son of Llewelyn; Elinor the second 
married Humphrey de Bohun earl of Kssex, who in her right, as will lie seen, succeeded to the 
lordship of Brecknock ; Maud married linger Mortimer earl of Wigmore and lord of Melenydd, son 
of Ralph lord of Wigmore by Gwladis ddu, and after his death Brian de Brampton; Eve the fourth 
daughter married William de Cantelupe, and brought him the lordship of Abergavenny, which by 
(he marriage of his daughter Joan, descended to the family of Hastings, from whom it came to the 
Beauchamps earls of Warwick and afterwards to Sir Edward Neville the ancestors of the present 
earls of Abergavenny 1 ; and Ella the fifth daughter married according to some MSS. a John 


•• It must be recollected that upon the reconciliation of Reginald de Breos with Llewelyn, the 
lordships of Blanllyfni and Talgarth, including the honour and castle of Dinas, were seized upon by 
the crown, and given to Peter Fitzherbert, and though he was dispossessed of them by Reginald. 
he afterwards acquired a legal title to these possessions by marrying [sabel, the daughter of the last 
William de Breos, who survived her first husband, David the son of Llewelyr prince of North Wales. 
Fitzherbert died in L235, leaving the bulk of his fortune, among which was his Breconshire property, 
to his eldest son by a former wife, Herbert Fitzpeter. The latter baron appears among the list of 
benefactors to the monks of Brecon : he granted them in full, pure, and perpetual alms, the liberty 
of fishing in the lake of Llynsavaddan, three days in the week and every day in Lent, with one 
boat. This was no new privilege, for they enjoyed this right in a far more ample manner under the 
first charter of Roger, earl of Hereford, indeed the present limitation to the use of on- boat, seems 
as if it was the intention of the grantor to narrow, rather than enlarge the benefits of the fishery. 
He granted them also the lands of Pentenavel (Penllanafel) and all the lands of St. Paulinus (Llangorse), 

1 'I'liis lordship, as well as those of Kington, Radnor, Knighton, Earlston, Totness and St. Clare were assigned to Eva, the widow 
of William de Breos, as her duwor, and were held by her till her death, in 12415. 


which used to pay to the said monks the yearly sum <>f one mark. By way of commutation, 
for the tythes of his castle of Blanllyfni, he gave them five marks yearly, subjecting his bailiff to 
the penalty of excommunication if be neglected or delayed payment; he also granted them a certain 
encroachment of laud near Trewalkin, cleared and mule protitablc. by tin- said monks, hut for which 
they hail incurred the displeasure of his father. The remainder of the charter contains merely a 
confirmation of grants by other persons of lands or hereditaments within his lordship. He died 
without issue in the thirty-second of Henry the Third, leaving his brother Reginald Fitzpeter his 
heir, who upon doing homage, had livery of his several estates in England and Wales, excepting the 
manors of Blanllyfni and Dinas, which the king seized and gave to Walerand do Tevs. 

7^§b ^>^r 


From the Acquisition of the lordship by the Bohun Family, to the failure of that Race in the male line ; during 
the accession by the Crown of England, and until the Possession of the lordship by the Stafford Family. 

HUMPHREY de BOHUN, who married one of the daughters of William de Breos, as has just 
been related, and who succeeded to the Welsh estates (A.I). 12-Ui) upon the death of his 
widow Eve, was the sixth ol that name after the Conquest. This family was of high respect in 
Normandy, and as some say, related to our first William, whom they accompanied into England. 
Humphrey the third, by his marriage with Margaret daughter of Miles de Gloucester or Milo Fitz- 
w-alter, became in her right on failure of the male issue or rather on the decease of his brother in 
law without issue (as lias been already seen), earl of Hereford and lord high constable of England, an 
office of great honour ami authority which descended through several generations of this family by 
the tenure of the manors of Haresfield, Newenham and Whittenhurst in Gloucestershire by grand 
Sergeanty. Camden says that Caldecott Castle in Monmouthshire was also held by them in virtue 
of that office, but this' Coxe 1 denies, and says it was part of the property of the Bohun family. 
Humphrey Bohun, who married Eleanor or Elinor de Breos, was the son of Humphrey, earl of 
Hereford,' surnamed the Good. The father and son differed widely in their politics ; in fact the 
father obtained this honourable distinction not only for the many virtues which niarkea his piivate 
character, but for his loyalty to the crown, while the son (with what justice we do not take upon 
us to say) was stigmatised with the epithet of rebel, for his adherence to the barons. 

" It is not our intention, not indeed is it consistent with our plan to enter into a detail of the 
convulsions which agitated the English nation during the long and sanguinary reign of Henry the 
Third : it will be "sufficient here to observe that the All-wise-Being. ' whose ways are past our 
finding out,' from great and apparent evils and calamities, produced much real good, and laid the 
foundation of future happiness and rational freedom to the inhabitants of this highly favoured island. 
To the turbulence and ambition of some of the barons, and the patriotism of others, leagued as 
they were together, by motives so extremely different and by views so completely opposite, we owe 
the preservation of Magna Charta, a grant which secured to the subject in those days many very 
valuable privileges, but which lias since from time to time so far been exceeded in consequence of 
that love of freedom implanted by these early struggles in the breasts of Englishmen, by the attention 
of the legislature and sometimes by the liberality of the crown, that though the name of this docu- 
ment sounds melodiously in the ears of those who are ignorant even of its contents, the advantages 
we now derive from it are comparatively small. 


"As the father of Humphrey was upon good terms with his sovereign during the whole or 
greatest part of his life, there is no reason to attribute the resistance of the son to improper motives : 
so that, unless Humphrey received some affront, or his tenants in Brecknockshire or elsewhere some 
injuries from the favourite D'Espencers, whose power in Glamorganshire was very great, it may 
fairly be presumed that the weak and wicked councils of Henry may have alienated him from his 
cause, and compelled him to support the violated rights of his fellow subjects, as well as to protect 
his own from the grip of a worthless monarch, and his insatiable minions. The first public notice 
we hear of this baron is in the twenty-eighth of Henry the Third, when in conjunction with the 
Earl of Clare and other English noblemen, he was employed to quell the insurrection of David the 
son of Llewelyn, his brother" in law; a fierce engagement took place between them, in which it will 
hardly be lamented that the English were defeated, when it is known that de Bohun was himself 

1 Coxe's Tour Through Monmouthshire (second edition, 1904, Daviea and Co., Brecon). 


the aggressor, by unjustly detaining from the British prince a third pari of his wife's portion settled 
upon him by her father. In the following year he was employed with William de Cantelupe in 
scouring the* Welsh marches from Brecknock to Shrewsbury. Disputes ran now very high between 
the two nations, and wars continued with little intermission during the reigns of David and his 
nephew Llewelyn ap Griffith; the latter having dispossessed Roger Mortimer of the castle of Builth 
and the lordship of Melenydd, at length consented to a truce in consideration of their near rela- 
tionship and permitted him to depart in peace. Llewelyn then passed on to Brecknock on the 
invitation, as it is said, of the inhabitants, received their voluntary submission and returned home 
into North Wales. 


"In the insurrection of the Earl of Leicester, Llewelyn and de Bohun acted in one common cause 
as partizans of Montfort, and committed dreadful ravages in the marches upon the lands of such 
as adhered to the royal standard. Blanllyfni and Dinas, which upon the death of Peter Fitzherbert 
had been conferred on Walerand de Teys, now fell into the hands of Peter de .Montfort. This 
Walerand in right of his wife, a daughter and heiress of Hugh de Kilpec in Herefordshire, held the 

bailiwick of Hay. of the town of Hereford, and the w 1 of Coed re (or Coed mawr) for which, 

in the forty-first of Henry the Third, he paid a fine of three marks of gold : he also held a moiety 
of the demesne lands of Whatley, in the county of Somerset, granted him by the crown when he 
was governor of Bristol castle : these with all other his lands in Wiltshire and Dorsetshire and the 
Forestership of Hay . Hereford, he afterwards made over to his nephew Alan Plugenet or Pogonet, 
constable of Dryslwyn castle in Caermarthenshire in 1287, with a reservation of an annuity of one 
hundred and twenty pounds to himself for life. In 1:2('>7, upon a peace being concluded between 
Henry and Llewelyn, the latter was allowed to retain Brecknock and Gwerthrynion, and the claims 
of the Bohun family seem at this time to have been overlooked by the King of England, though 
the old Earl of Hereford, his fast friend and adherent was still living. 


"To Humphrey de Bohun the sixth of that name, the Burgesses of Brecknock are indebted for 
their first charter of liberties and immunities now on record, though it is not improbable there may 
have been prior grants, which have been either lost or destroyed. He left only one son, a minor 
at the time of his death, the wardship of whom was committed by the crown to Gilbert Earl of 
Gloucester, for though the father had offended, respect for his grandfather preserved the property 
from confiscation, at the same time that little attention was paid to prevent its dismemberment 
whenever policy dictated a sacrifice of part of it to a troublesome enemy, but upon the arrival of 
our young lord at the age of manhood, the same motives induced this English monarch to restore, 
or at least to permit him to recover his dominion of Brecknock. 'AD. 1-71 (says Leland) young 
Humphrey fastnid, i.e. entryed on his land of Brecknock after the least of St. .Mark." The ex- 
planation was perfectly superfluous and unnecessary, fastening is lull as easily comprehended as entering 
upon land, and is more descriptive of the manner in which the Norman lords seized or became seized 
of their Welsh estates as well as of the uses to which they were applied, when they had them under 
their talons. 

"Upon the death of Humphrey the Good, who, according to York in his Union of Honour, was 
buried at Llantoni, near Gloucester (AD. 1l'75), Humphrey his grandson was admitted to the earldom 
of Hereford and Essex, and (he constableship of England, which last office his grandfather had re- 
signed to him some time previous to his death, and upon doing homage he had livery of these 
honours. In the tenth of Edward the First, particular circumstances requiring his personal residence 
in Brecknock, he was allowed to depute his uncle John de Bohun to attend his sovereign as eon- 
stable of England. 


"Though neither the Welsh or English historians have recorded the inducements which led Hum- 
phrey de Bohun into Wales at this period, it is not difficult to account for the necessity of his 
appearance in Brecknockshire, when we recollect the pontine of affairs there in the year 1281. A war 
had just commenced between Edward the First and Llewelyn, which the humanity of Peckham, 
archbishop of Canterbury endeavoured to prevent; he even undertook a journey into Wales for that 
purpose, heard with patience and apparently without prejudice the complaints of Llewelyn, dictated 
in language which would not disgrace the orators of any age or country, almost admitted the truth 


of his assertions and the force of his arguments, seemed to feel for the injuries of the prince and 
principality, and returned to England in expectation that they would be redressed, but the die was 
now thrown and the resolution of Edward irrevocably fixed. 

"A wise and sound policy productive at the time, it is true, of calamities that may be deplored, 
and outrages which must be condemned, yet ultimately tending to promote the peace and happiness 
of both countries, suggested to this enterprizing monarch the necessity of uniting Wales with England, 
and the hatred of a rival hi arms, as well as in talents, though inferior in force, confirmed him hi 
his determination. Llewelyn ap Griffith had frequently and indeed recently foiled him in his attempts 
to Mibjugate the rough natives of the barren mountains, and had formerly sent him bootless back 
to the fat pastures of England, if not with disgrace, at least with mortification and disappointment ; 
but that persevering potentate, skilled as he was in every branch of military tactics then known 
in Europe or in Asia, returned to the charge, and deaf to the representations of the ill-fated 
Llewelyn, sent the primate back with proposals so humiliating, that they were, as he of course con- 
cluded they would be, rejected with indignation. One of these proposals was, that the Prince of 
Wall's should desert his subjects and submit to receive a pension of one thousand pounds a year 
in England. Llewelyn answered with great spirit, that if he were base enough to accept of it, such 
was the honest pride of his people, that they would not suffer him to enjoy it, or permit him to 
descend so far below his rank. Here the archbishop, whose conduct hitherto was so amiable, lost 
at once the high character he had acquired. Intimidated by the power or compelled by what per- 
haps he thought his duty to his sovereign, he not. only condescended to convey terms which he knew 
to lie unreasonable and only calculated to wound the feelings of an injured prince, but he absolutely, 
when they were not approved of, thought it necessary to employ the censures of the church and to 
send Llewelyn and all his adherents to the Devil, for what he called their invincible obstinacy. 


" Both sides now prepared for war. The first efforts of the Welsh prince were successful. A 
considerable body of the English having crossed the strait or narrow channel between Anglesea and 
Caernarvonshire were cut to pieces, and Llewelyn overran Caerdiganshire and a great part of Caer- 
marthenshire ; but the fortitude, the perseverance, the talents and the forces of Edward, where he 
commanded in person, were irresistible : ' his banners were fann'd by the crimson wing of conquest 
wherever they waved.' A retreat therefore to the almost inaccessible heights and fastnesses of 
Snowdon was the only expedient left, to the Britons for avoiding present death or future slavery. 
This was adopted, and Llewelyn might, have remained sometime secure from attack, unless his supply 
of provisions was intercepted ; of this disaster he seems to have been apprehensive, and in order 
therefore if possible to prevent it and to distract the attention of Edward, who was at Conway, 
he marched with a small body of men to Montgomery, and from thence into Radnorshire, where, 
as well as in Brecknockshire, he had a considerable number ot friends, for he w^as the idol of his 
countrymen, or as an old chronicle describes him, ' he was the captayne, the prayse, the law and 
the light of nations.' The correspondence he held hi this part of the country, was by some means 
or other made known to the English court, and it was to discover his intrigues and to counteract 
his designs, as well as to fasten upon his lordship of Brecknock, that Humphrey de Bohun was now 
sent down into this country ; unfortunately for the Prince of Wales he was too successful hi both 
the objects of his mission. Llewelyn's friends were either intimated or persuaded to desert him, 
his enemies were encouraged and a considerable force raised to ojipose him. 


" Since the death of the last William de Breos, his widow and son in law possessed little more 
than a nominal dominion over this country : the descendants of the Norman knights preserved an 
attachment to the family of their seignior or lord paramount, but we have just seen the Welsh 
inhabitants of the town of Brecknock itself, the seat of his government, lately submit voluntarily 
to their favourite hero, and native chief ; while Humphrey de Bohun, the father of the present 
Humphrey, involved as he was during the whole course of his life in continual troubles and per- 
petual skirmishes and warfare, had neither power or leisure to enforce the obedience of his tenants 
in the principality. But the case was now widely different ; aided by the name and authority of 
the king of England, the arms or the arguments of Humphrey, the son, prevailed with his de- 
pendents, and made even an appearance or attempt at resistance folly. This complete change in 
the government and politics of the country, affected with much secrecy, as well as expedition, was 
perhaps not. perfectly known to Llewelyn. Led by the promises and flattered with the hopes of 
assistance held out to him by some men of power in the hundred of Builth and the neighbourhood, 


ho ventured to march with his little army to Aberedwy in Radnorshire, three miles below Builth, 
cm the banks of the river Wye. where it is said he expected to have held a conference with some 
of his friends: here, however, he found himself fatally disappointed, for instead of allies and par- 
tizans, whom he was encouraged to look for, he perceived he was almost surrounded in the toils and 
trammels of his adversary. A superior force from Herefordshire having had notice of his mute, from 
some of the inhabitants of this country, approached under the command of Edmund Mortimer and 
John Grffard. Llewelyn finding from their numbers that resistance would be vain, fled with his men 
to Builth, and in order to deceive the enemy, as there was then snow upon the ground, he is said 
to have caused his horse's shoes to be reversed, but even this stratagem was discovered to them 
by a smith at Aberedwy whose name as tradition says, was Madoc gocll mill niawr. or red haired 
wide mouthed Madoc. lb' arrived at the bridge oyer the Wye. time enough to ]>ass and break it 
down, before his pursuers could come up with him: here therefore they were completely thrown out, 
as there was no other bridge over the Wye at that time, nearer than Bredwardine. thirty miles below. 


" Thus foiled and disappointed of their prize for the present, the English immediate'y returned 
downward to a lord known to some of the parly, about eight miles below, near a ferry called Caban 
Tw m Bach, or Little Tom's ferry boat. In the interim, it should seem Llewelyn must have gained 
sufficient time to have distanced his followers, if he had made the best use of it. but he had not 
yet abandoned the expectation of meeting with assistance, and some hours may have been employed 
with the garrison of the castle of Builth, who awed by the approach of .Mortimer, refused to treat 
with or support him. Stowe says 'he was taken to Buelth castle, where using reproachful words 
against the Englishmen, Sir Roger le Strange ran upon him and cut oil' his head, leaving his dead 
body on the ground.' It is by no means improbable that he should have accused the garrison of 
Builth and the inhabitants of that country of perfidy, and. as Stowe says, used reproachful words 
towards the English. lie may also have bestowed upon the men of Aberedwy 1 as well as of 
Builth, that epithet which has stuck by them ever since, but he certainly was not slain at Builth 
castle, or by Sir Roger le Strange, for being he e repulsed by those from w horn he expected support, 
and baffled in his attempts to reduce them to obedience, he proceeded westward up the vale of 
lrvon on the southern side, for about three miles where he crossed the river a little above Llanynis 
church over a bridge called Ponty y coed, or the bridge of the wood, either with an intention of 
returning into North Wales through Llanganten, Llanavan fawr, Llanwrthwl. and from thence into 
Montgomeryshire, or perhaps of joining his friends in Caermarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, to oppose 
whom Oliver de Dyneham had been sent by the directions of the King of England, as appears by 
his letter from Rbuddlan. This passage once secured, he stationed the few troops who accom- 
panied him, on the northern side of the river, where, from the ground being more precipitous and 
much higher than the opposite bank, and at the same time covered wiiii wood, a handful of men wen- 
able to defend the bridge against a more numerous enemy: in this situation he preserved a com- 
munication with the whole of Brecknockshire, and as he supposed the river was at this season 2 
of the year impassable, he waited with confidence and security, while he commanded the pass, in 
hopes to hear further from his correspondents, or in expectation of being reinforced from the west- 


"By this means the English forces gained sufficient time to come up with him. and appearing 
on the southern side of the; lrvon. made a fruitless attempt to gain the bridge: here they probably 
would have been compelled to have abandoned the pursuit, or at least Llewelyn might have escaped 
in safety to the mountains of Snowdon if a knight of the name of Sir Elias Walwyn fa descendant 
of Sir Phillip Walwyn of Hay), had not discovered a, ford at some like distance, where a detachment 
of the English crossed the river and coming unexpectedly upon the backs of the Welsh at the bridge, 
they were immediately routed, and either in the pursuit or while he was watching the motions of 
the main body of the enemy, who were still on the other side of the river, he was attacked in a 
small del! about two hundred yards below the scene of action, from him called ('win Llewelyn, or 
Llewelyn's dingle, and slain unarmed fas some say) by one Adam de Francton, who plunged a spear 
into his body, and immediately joined hi- countrymen in pursuit of the flying enemy. Of this Adam 

1 Bradwyr Aberedwy, Bradwyr Buallt. (Traitors of Aberedwy, passed in the depth of winter. Polydore Virgil says, tin- battle 

trailers of Builth.) was fought en the tilth of December, and Carl.-, in his History 

- It is clear from the snow, as well u- from Edward's letter, ol England, quoting the chronicle of Dunstable, a-. 'its that the 

dated 12th November, 12*2, that the circumstance related Welsh lust two thousand men in tliis engagement. Sed. 9. 



de Francton, or perhaps Adam de Frampton, we have no account in history, nor is it known what 
rank he held in the English army, but it appears by Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, vol. 1. pages 8S 
and 89, that forty-three years after this transaction a person of that name was buried at Wyburton 
church, between Boston and Framjiton in Lincolnshire : his tomb has the figure of a man and woman 
cut in strokes upon it, and underneath, the following arms and inscriptions in characters of the time. 







" In all probability this man of Wyburton was the slayer of Llewelyn, especially as the first shield 
is not unlike that of the Mortimers, under whom lie served. Be this as it may, when Francton 
returned after the engagement in hopes of plunder, he perceived that the person whom he had 
wounded (for he was still alive), was the prince of Wales, and on stripping him, a letter in cypher 
and his privy seal was found concealed about him. The Englishman, delighted with the discovery, 
immediately "cut off his head, and sent it (as the most acceptable present that could be conveyed) 
to the kiii" of England. The body of the unfortunate prince was dragged by the soldiers to a 
little distance where the two roads from Builth now divide, one leading to Llanafan and the other to 
Llangammarch : here they buried him, and this spot has been ever since known by the name of 
Cefn y bedd- or Cefn bedd Llewelyn, the ridge of Llewelyn's grave. A copy of the letter found 
upon him was soon afterwards sent by Edmund Mortimer to the archbishop of Canterbury, who 
was then at Pembridge in Herefordshire, to be forwarded to the king : the primate in the course of 
conveying this transcript to his majesty, adds such further intelligence as had reached him, from 
which it appears, that dame Matilda Longspee had interfered upon hearing of Llewelyn's death 
intreating he might be absolved from the sentence of excommunication, and his body buried in a 
consecrated place. This request Mortimer, with the gallantry of a soldier and the affection of a 
relation (though that kinsman was an enemy), warmly seconded, by stating an assurance he received 
from those who were present when Llewelyn expired, that before his death he called for a priest, 
and that a white monk, who happened to be near, chaunted mass to him previous to his dissolution. 


•'Maud or Matilda Longspee, Countess of Salisbury, who thus kindly endeavoured to procure for 
the corpse of Llewelyn the rites of sepulture, and who married for her first husband William Lorjgspee, 
the second earl of that name, was the only daughter and heiress of Walter de Clifford, governor 
of the castles of Carmarthen and Cardigan, by his second wife Margaret daughter of Llewelyn ap 
Jorwerth, aunt to the deceased prime. Maud lived sometimes at Clifford castle in Herefordshire, 
and at other times at Bronllys in Brecknockshire ; she married secondly Sir John Giffard of Brims- 
field in Gloucestershire, who in her right became seized of these possessions, and who was so situated 
that notwithstanding this family connexion of his wife's, lie was compelled by his allegiance to his 
sovereign to become one of the leaders of the English troops by whom Llewelyn was defeated and 

1 The inscription is given in Gough in the old letters, which 
are all capitals and perfectly legible, hut it is very extraordinary 
that the copyer's explanation is not only incorrect in the spelling, 
hut it lias omitted some of the words m the original. 

- Cefn is the ridge or summit of a gently rising, and not very 

high hill. Owen, in his dictionary, writes that word singularly. 
" Cevyn." though all the derivations or compound words formed 
from it, as Cofndwn, Cefnbant. he spells in the common way, 
substituting (as his plan is) the » for the /. 


"No attention was paid to the request of Maud or the recommendation of Mortimer, and the 
remains of Llewelyn instead of being bones of contention among the loyal inhabitants of York and 
Winchester, as his brother David's' afterwards became, were permitted to rot at Cefn-y-bedd in 
unhallowed ground. 

"Those who have attentively read the history of Llewelyn, of whatever country they may be, 
will lament the fate, and sigh while they contemplate the fall of the last and greatest of the Welsh 
princes. His grandfather. Llewelyn ap Jorwerth, had courage and considerable talents, but he was 
savage in manners, variable in politics, tickle in his attachment and brutal in his revenge. During 
the greatest part of his life he had a mere driveller to oppose, but the last Llewelyn had to contend 
with an Alexander, supported by superior numbers and revenues ; in short he had all the virtues 
of his ancestor with scarcely any of his vices, he had infinitely more difficulties to encounter, and 
when he was favoured with the smiles of fortune he owed them entirely to his own merit and 
exertions. 2 


"To return to Bohun. In the 14th year of Edward the First, he was with the king's army in 
Wales, and received scutage of all his tenants: his late guardian the Earl of Gloucester was now pos- 
sessed of the neighbouring lordship of Glamorgan, hut certain untoward circumstances had destroyed 
all intercourse between them. Carte thus relates the story: Gilbert earl of Gloucester had lately 
erected a castle 3 on the frontiers of Glamorgan, but situated in the county of Brecknock, upon 
lands belonging to Bohun, who complained of the injury in the king's court ; Edward had reserved 
the cognizance of the cause to himself, and in the meantime forbad both to prosecute the quarrel 
by hostilities, or to disturb the peace of the country. This prohibition however did not prevent 
Gilbert's bailiffs and vassals from invading by his direction, and with his banner displayed, the 
territories of Humphrey, burning houses, killing several persons, carrying off cattle, and committing 
several other depredations. These enormities were perpetrated in the months of February, June, 
and December in the last mentioned year. The Glamorganshire men animated by impunity made 
afterwards frequent incursions into Breconshire, plundering wherever they marched, and to add 
sacrilege to their other crimes not sparing even the churches. Humphrey's vassals had hitherto been 
passive, but his bailiffs raiding them on one of these last occasions, followed the robbers into Gilbert's 
territories, slew some of them and rescued their own cattle. They carried off likewise some of the 
people of the latter, and were received by their own lord with their booty, who ordered it to be 
detained until satisfaction had been made for the injuries his tenants had sustained. The king re- 
solving to put an end to such hostilities between his subjects, to maintain peace and order in every 
part of his kingdom, and to punish those who had insulted his authority and disobeyed his injunc- 
tions, issued a special commission for inquiring into the facts ; which were found by a jury indifferent 
to both parties, being inhabitants of the neighbouring counties, to have passed as here re'ated. 


"The inquest being returned to the king on the loth of September, being the day after his mother's 
funeral, sitting in his Council at Ambresbury, he called upon the two earls to answer for their con- 
tempt of his inhibition. Gloucester endeavoured to excuse himself by the custom of the marches 
and other trifling and insufficient pretences. Humphrey, though perhaps not strictly justifiable, was 
certainly less to blame than his opponent. The king however hearing that he too had ventured to 
disturb' the peace of the country against his express command, soon afterwards ordered another 
inquest, returnable before himself and council in three weeks after Michaelmas, to inquire into dis- 
orders committed since the former verdict, by which Gloucester alone had been found guilty, but 
now it appeared that Hereford had consented to his vassals' depredations, by encouraging them to 
retaliate upon the men of Glamorganshire, and receiving and detaining the cattle they had taken from 

i Warrington informs us. upon the authority of the annals written upon these transactions (as far at least as we have been 

of Waverley, that when David ap Griffith's quarters were con- ablet Uect them) as well as from tradition and a survey of the 

demned by the sentence of the courtiers of Edward the First supposed scene of action, we have endeavoured to give as 

at Shrewsbury, to be placed in different parts of the kingdom, accurate a relation as it was in our power, and we haven neiled 

the cities of York and Winchester contended with a savage eager- the differences between them, without imputing anj flagrant 

ness for the right shoulder of this unfortunate prince, and that error or mistake to any oi them where it could be avoided, 

thai honour was decided in favour of Winchester! Can this Warrington has given a faulty translation of a very extravagant 

possibly be true ? ode on the death of this prince, which those who think in 

- Tlie death of this prince is described in so confused and Welsh, as they do in English who prefer Chaucer to Po] 

unintelligible a manner by different authors, that those who Dryden, will perhaps admire. 

know the country are more at a loss to comprehend the circum- :; Marlais castle near Merthyr Tydvil (as we apprehend) : this 
stances attending it than even strangers. From an attentive >s now in Glamorganshire, but within a stone's throw of Brecon- 
perusal of all the accounts related by all the historians who_have shire. 


thence. He was likewise taken into custody, and the liberties of both seized into the king's hands, 
this being the ordinary and legal punishment in such eases, for when it was not easy to discover or 
come at the vassal, the lord of the liberty was responsible for his offence ; yet they were both dis- 
missed upon giving bail for their appearance upon the seventeenth of January then next, at Westminster, 
and till then their liberties were replevied, when the king's court, consisting of the archbishops, 
bishops, earls, barons and others of his council had considered the case, they abated something of 
the rigour of the law (by which their regalities and franchises would have been forfeited for ever), 
to the earl of Gloucester for the sake of his wife and her issue, who were innocent of the offence, 
and to the earl of Hereford, because he was less guilty than the other, having received considerable 
provocation from him. They adjudged (the king pronouncing sentence) that the liberties of Glamorgan 
and Brecknock should be forfeited for their respective lives, and both their persons taken into custody, 
to remain in prison till ransomed at the king's' pleasure : Brecknock was committed in trust to 
Roger de Burghull or Burchil), probably a descendant of Bernard Newmarch's Sir Humphrey Burchill, 
though his name is not found in the family pedigree. In this situation they were not continued 
long before they were permitted to compound uith the crown, Hereford for one thousand, Gloucester 
for ten thousand marks, when upon giving security for the payment of the money, they were restored 
to liberty and the possession of their estates. 


"This Humphrey, in his political character, was a zealous partisan in the cause of liberty, steady 
in his opposition to the encroachments of royal prerogative, and strenuous in asserting the constitu- 
tional rights and privileges of the subject : several instances (if his undaunted spirit are recorded 
in the history of the times. When ordered by the king to accompany the Earl .Marshal to the con- 
tinent, they both resisted, insisting upon their privileges, and saying that if his majesty went thither 
in person, they were ready to attend him, but otherwise by the nature of their services they -were 
exempt from obedience to such a command. The language of the Earl Marshal is said to have been 
indecently warm on the occasion. Upon the king's threatening them for their contempt of bis 
authority, they withdrew from court and took up arms, and such was now the situation of the 
Kingdom, that his majesty thought, it more prudent to submit to the affront than to persevere in 
insisting on their obedience. Here we see the same nobleman, who a little while back was com- 
pelled to throw himself entirely at the mercy of his sovereign, set the same monarch at defiance, 
and resist his orders with impunity ; but the power of the crown varied in these days with the 
circumstances of the times, and e\ en the great statesman and legislator Edward was occasionally 
compelled to bow to them, and relax from his severity. At another period we find de Bohun leagued 
with other malcontents prohibiting the lord treasurer and barons of the exchequer from levying that 
tax of the eighth penny upon the people, which the parliament of Edmundsbury had granted to the 
crown, and openly inviting the Londoners to join him in the recovery of their liberties ; for this 
he was suspended from his office of high constable. 

"During the Jung's absence in Flanders, Prince Edward, then left regent of public affairs, sum- 
moned him and the Earl Marshal to attend their duty in Parliament : they came, it is true, but 
they were attended by five hundred horse and a large body of infantry, and they even refused to 
enter the city unless their own men were allowed to keep the gates. Neither would they agree to 
anything there proposed, unless the king would confirm the great charter and the charter of the 
forest with some additional articles, that no subsidies should from thenceforward be exacted from 
the clergy or laity, but by consent of the lords, and finally that themselves and all others concerned 
with them, who had refused to go into Flanders should be freely pardoned. Humiliating to royal 
dignity, as all these concessions were, Edward was once more necessitated to comply with, and per- 
form them. 


"This Humphrey de Bohun appears upon the list of benefactors to the monks of Brecknock, 
to whom he confirms all the grants of his predecessors. By charter, dated at Chatley, 4 Edward I., 
he renewed and considerably augmented the privileges of the burgesses of Brecknock, expressly 
endowing them with liberties and immunities, in the same large and ample manner as he had before 
granted to the city of Hereford. He died at Plessy in 1298, and was buried at Saint Mary's chapel 
at Walden in Essex: upon this event one of our historians observes, that 'England in him lost one 
of the best friends, as Edward did one of the severest checks either had ever known.' The lordships 
of l'lanllyfni and Dinas were now possessed by John, the son of Reginald Fitzpeter, who was sum- 
moned to parliament from the twenty-second to the end of this reign, and in the first of King 


Edward the Second, by the title of Lord Fitzreginald of Blanllyfni, and Roger Mortimer was styled 
Baron of Penkelly : they both appear upon the list of those patriots mentioned by Doctor Howel, 
who withstood the Papal usurpation when he claimed Scotland from King Edward the First. 

"Their spirited me rial is recorded in the parliamentary register. John Fitzreginald was a 

benefactor to the monks of Brecknock and Llanthony. In the ninth of Edward the First, John 
Giffard obtained a charter for free warren within his lordship of Bronllys, which, as has been before 
observed, he held jure uxoris ; in 1287 we find him constable of the castle of Builth, which he held 
under the crown of England, and during this reign he was created Lord Giffard of Brimsfield in 
the county of Gloucester. He died in the year 12!i"> possessed of the castle and manor of Bronllys 
and the manor of Glazbury : the last heir male of this house died in 1322, and the barony has been 
since claimed by the Talbot and Howard families. 

Humphrey's son marries a daughter of the king. 

"Wonderful are the turns and changes which the pages of history unfold! Strange are the 
revolutions which courtly interest has power to effect! We have just seen the independent Humphrey 
boldly withstanding the despotic views of Edward, and with a patriot spirit defending the liberties of 
the subject, and now we arc to behold the eldest son of that very lord by way of atonement for 
his father's conduct, surrendering the inheritance of all his lands with the earldoms of Hereford and 
Essex, together with the constableship of England, into the hands of the crown, and shortly after 
marrying the daughter of that prince whose power the elder Humphrey had so frequently resisted 
with success : this last circumstance, whatever disgrace it may throw upon his principles, may perhaps 
account for the different conduct of the father and son. The wife of the latter was Elizabeth, 
seventh daughter of Edward the First, by Eleanor his first wife: at the early age of fourteen she was 
married to John, earl of Holland and Zealand, and lord of Friezeland, with the noble dower of eight 
thousand pounds per annum. This lord dying without issue, she took for her second husband the 
Earl of Hereford : upon this event the king restored to him all his titles and estates, reserving however 
to the crown in case he should leave no male issue, the reversion of the greatest part of the English 
property, together with the constableship, and providing that the estates in Bucks. Wilts, Gloucester- 
shire, Huntingdon in Herefordshire, as well as those in Wales, namely Brecknock, Hay, and C'aldccot, 
and Newton in the marches, should descend to the heirs at law of Bohun. 


"By charter, dated at Brecknock, on Good Friday the first of Edward the Second, this lord 
renewed and confirmed the privileges of that borough, to which he was very liberal, and where his 
memory was for ages so long respected, that Hugh Thomas dignifies him with the epithet of noble. 
Whatever his conduct might have been to his dependents and tenants, it is clear that his submission 
to Edward the First was either per force or dictated by policy; it is indeed more than probable 
that it may be attributed to both. In the first place, his father's death had weakened the powers 
of his faction or party, and the Earl Marshal conscious of his loss, and knowing the resolute, though 
generous disposition of the king, had thought proper to temporize and resign not only his office, 
but nearly the whole of his estate to the crown. Edward satisfied with having humbled his haughty 
spirit, graciously regranted him the greater part with the honours for his life, which he quietly 
enjoyed for the short remainder of it. Actuated by the same principle and knowing that all opposi- 
tion would be vain, the lord of Brecknock thought it most prudent to follow the example set before 
him : his submission was certainly much facilitated, and his reconciliation with the sovereign rendered 
more palatable, by the flattering prospect held out to him in the projected union with his daughter. 
The event has been related and his allegiance was secured for the present reign, but no sooner had 
the death of the first Edward placed a new monarch on the throne (although that monarch was 
his brother-in-law), than the opposing and restless spirit of the Bohuns again became conspicuous. 
The unhappy partiality which the weak and. youthful Edward manifested towards the stranger 
Gaveston, soon roused the jealousy of all the old nobility of England, and to such a height did 
they carry their resentment, that many of them refused to grace his majesty's coronation with their 
presence, until lie had consented to the banishment of that obnoxious favourite. To appease the 
barons, the king seemingly acquiesced and made a promise which he was determined to evade in 
the moment he was giving it. Of this the lords were soon made sensible, but it only served to 
render them more violent; they even came armed to parliament. Having bound themselves by 
an oath not to desist from their prosecution of Gaveston till tiny hail deprived him of the Earldom 
of Cornwall, to which lie had lately been advanced, and compelled him to quit the realm, they in 
a still louder and more authoritative tone, demanded his banishment. (A.L). 1308). 


"The principals among those malcontents were the Earls of Lancaster, Warwick, Pembroke and 
Hereford. In the meantime the whole nation was in a distracted state, and a civil war was 
seriously apprehended. It is irrelevant and indeed unnecessary here to pursue the subject through 
all the particulars of the barons' violence, the monarch's weakness, and the insolence of Gaveston. 
Those who have read the hisiory of England are well acquainted with the event ; the latter fell a 
sacrifice to the unceasing vengeance of his enemies, and the former were sufficiently powerful to 
extort a pardon from their misguided and infatuated sovereign. 


"While England was thus weakened by intestine faction, and the wretched indecision of a feeble 
head, the Scotch were daily gaining strength under the judicious auspices of a brave and able leader. 
The gallant Robert Bruce had already possessed himself of the greater part of Scotland, and even 
laid the English Marches under contribution, when the lethargy of Edward was at length awakened 
to a sense of danger, and he seemed to feel the necessity of arming to prevent his further progress. 
The military tenants of the crown were now called upon for their respective levies, and the king 
marched against the enemy at the head of one hundred thousand men ; upon this occasion the 
lordship of Brecknock was charged with a levy of eight hundred men ! Elvel and Builth raised 
two hundred, and the whole of Wales and the Marches six thousand one hundred, being nearly 
twelve hundred more than were furnished by twelve English counties, in which number is included the ex- 
tensive county of York. 1 In the great battle of Bannock-Bourn, the Earl of Hereford was taken 
prisoner, and Henry de Bohun (undoubtedly a relation, perhaps his uncle), was slain in single combat 
by Bruce. It is said that Edward was not very anxious to obtain the release of his brother in law, 
but the Earl of Lancaster and his faction made such a point of it that they absolutely withheld the 
necessary supplies from government till they had effected it ; the wife of Burce therefore, and other 
Scotch prisoners of rank, were exchanged for de Bohun and his adherents. 

" ' In the same year (says Dugdale from an old MS. in the possession of the Earl of Elgin) 
Humphrey de Bohun had a grant from the king of the castle of Buelte- in Ireland, in which year 
he entertained Sir Peter de Ouvedale (now written Uvedale), knight, by indenture to serve him 
during life, and to receive livery of robes, as his other bachelors, as also bouche 3 of court, with 
hay and oats for four horses, and wages for four groomes in times of peace, whensoever he should 
come to court by his command; but in times of warre and for Tourney,* hay and oats for eight 
horses, and wages for eight groomes with satisfaction for such horses and arms as he should lose 
in the war.' This custom of coming to court armed and followed by a numerous retinue in the 
same livery, or wearing clothes of the same colour, became so dangerous to the state, that in a 
subsequent reign it was found necessary to enact laws to prevent it. 


"In the year 1315 the Earl of Hereford, and all the lords of the Marches, raised their followers, 
and William de Montacute was sent by the king with a body of forces to suppress a formidable 
rebellion excited in Glamorganshire by one Llewelyn Bren (so Walsingham calls him) who had 
surprised the governor and taken the castle of Caerphili. This person (whom we do not find noticed 
by any Welsh writer) is said by Carte to have held a lucrative employment under the late Earl of 
Gloucester, but having been deprived of it by Payne de Turbeville, who acted under the crown upon 
the earl's death, he was incensed thereby to the commission of this violence. Without entirely 
rejecting the account given by this respectable historian, whose accuracy when he treats of the affairs 
of Wales exceeds that of any other English author who has preceded him, other causes may be 
assigned for this insurrection. Llewelyn Bren, as has been just observed, is not known in the Welsh 
annals, but pedigrees still preserved in the principality inform us that he was grandson to Ivor 
lord of Sanghenydd. of which district Caerphili was the manorial castle. Ifor being dispossessed of 
this fortress and the greatest part of his property, which descended to him from a long line of 
ancestry, by the Normans under Fitzhammon, left behind him no doubt some memorials of his right, 
and documents for its recovery at a fit opportunity. 

" From the conqueror of Glamorganshire the castle of Caerphili and manor of Sanghenydd came to 
Gilbert earl of Clare by marriage. On failure of the male issue of this nobleman, it descended to 

1 We suspect some mistake here ; it is highly improbable that 3 Bouehe of court, or as it commonly occurs Bowge of court 

Brecknock, even if Huntingdon and the Marches were added was an allowance of diet or belly-provision from the king or 

lo it, could raise so large a force as right hundred men in those superior lords to their knights, esquires, or other retinue, from the 

days. French Bouche, a mouth. 

- It is difficult to say what Dugdale means by the castle of * Tourney, tourneyment or Tournament ; i. e. provision for 

Beulte in Ireland. Builth in Breconshire was then in possession his horses when engaged in wars or tournaments, 
of the Mortimer family 


his daughter Eleanor, who married the younger Spencer, and after his death, William Zoueh of 
Mortimer, who in her right laid claim to it during the minority of her son by the first husband, 
and afterwards laid seige to h in 1329. During these contentions it should seem that Llewelyn 
Bren thought he might assert his claim with success, and in support of it. he brought, it is said, 
ten thousand men into the field, with whose assistance he assailed the castle and gained possi ion 
of it. To oppose him, the English monarch sent John GifTard, lord of Bronllys, who had been 
appointed custos of the lands of Gilbert, late Earl of Clare in Glamorganshire, or (as they are dis- 
figured in the Fcedera) in Glamorgan and Morgannon. He was directed to proceed under the 
command of Humphrey Bohun, Earl of Hereford, the general of the forces on this expedition. < >t 
the battles which were fought and the events that ensued in this campaign, little is known, but it 
is clear that this rebellion was soon suppressed, and that the Welsh chieftain and his two sons 
Griffith and Jeuan were taken prisoners and committed to the Tower of London, where they remained 
in June l.'UT. when the king commanded his treasurers and chamberlain, to pay John de Crumbwell, 
constable of that fortress, three pence a day tor the support of each of them in future, as well as 
the arrears then due to him. 

"The result of this short lived, though perhaps formidable rising, was unusually favourable to 
the Welsh inhabitants, who obtained a considerable alleviation of some of the old feodal services. 
by which they were bound to their lords, as well as an addition of several privileges before enjoyed by 
them, and which were granted in hopes to secure their future peaceable demeanour. Amongst others, 
the fines usually paid the lord by his t ■nants for the marriage of their daughters, called Amobr, or 
Gwobr Merch, were moderated, freeholders were allowed to put a son into holy orders, if they had 
more than one, without the king's licence, and to dispose, of their lands for three years to any of 
their countrymen of their own condition, except to monks and religious bodies. These, together with 
the previous indulgences by the Earl of Gloucester, which were very great, rendered the inhabitants 
of Glamorganshire easy and contented. 


"Scarcely were the troubles in Scotland terminated, when the king's partiality for the two 
D'Espencers again discovered itself and set the nation in a flame: the elder of these noblemen he 
created Earl of Winchester, and the younger by his marriage with Eleanor eldest sister and coheir 
of Gilbert, Earl of Gloucester, enjoyed that title. Hugh D'Espencer the younger had been placed 
by the Lancastrian faction in the office of chamberlain of the household to the king, a situation 
which gave him frequent opportunities of ingratiating himself and excluding all other- from the notice 
of his master; he employed these advantages with such success that he soon supplied the place of 
Gaveston in the monarch's friendship and favour. Gaveston and D'Espencer were both young and 
handsome in their persons, equally proud, haughty, ambitious, rapacious and debauched, but in point 
of avarice Hugh was. if possible, more insatiable than his predecessor; by his marriage he had ob- 
tained the greatest part of the territory of Glamorgan, and was very desirous of adding to it the 
neighbouring royalty of Gower. William de Breos, the then lord of Cower, was a dissolute and 
expensive man, of ruined fortune, and who, as has been sen, had carried on a kind of swindling 
transaction in the sale of these estates. In the first place, he had agreed to sell them to the Earl 
of Hereford, then to the two Mortimers who were ignorant of any former agreement, and lastly to Hugh 
D'Espencer, who had this advantage over his competitors, that he purchased with the king's licence, 
and was supported by the royal authority. Bu1 there was yet another claimant. John de Mowbray, 
who had married de' Breos's daughter, and insisted upon her right to the inheritance; thus far 
Walsingham, 1 but Mr. Carte, inclining to the monk of Malmsbury, whose relation he says accords 
more nearly with the original deeds noticed by Sir William Dugdale, assumes it differently; according 
to him, William de Breos had two daughters, the eldest Aliva wife to John de Mowbray 2 the 
younger, Jane married to James de Bohun of Midherst, for whom the estate of Brambre lay very 
convenient, as that of Gower did for Mowbray. 

"William therefore by a special deed granted the honour and land of Cower to John de Mowbraj 
and Aliva, to the heirs of their bodies lawfully to lie begotten, with remainder to Humphrey de 
Bohun Earl of Hereford and his heirs. In virtue of tin- grant Mowbray entered upon the kind 

i Walsingharo, Hist. Anqlice., p. in. in Camden's Script. daughter of Hugh D'Espencer. and soon afterwards James 

Ang. Norman. Berkley grandson of the above Sir .Maun,,, married Isabel 

■ The title of baron de Breos of Glower, was in 1S05 possessed daughter oi Thomas Mowbray, cousin and c=heir of John Mow- 
by the Earl of Berkley, whose ancestor, Sir Maurice Berkley, bray Duke of Norfolk, and widow of Henry Ferrers, 
in the beginning of the fourteenth century married Elizabeth 


without any licence from the king, of whom it was held in capile, and this served young D'Espencer 
(who wanted to get into his hands a tract of country adjoining to his own) as a pretence to sue 
him in order to procure a sentence adjudging it to be forfeited. John and the Earl of Hereford, 
both interested in the settlement, alleged that the entry was made according to the customs of the 
Marches, and insisted upon their rights. As these were questions implicating every tenure there, 
the Lords Marchers were unanimous in resisting an inquiry: they loudly exclaimed against the rapacity 
of D'Espencer, which seemed to threaten all their possessions, and conscious that they had no other 
remedy than force, they in open arms demanded of the king that he should be either banished the 
realm or imprisoned and brought to trial. In this confederacy the names of de Bohun, Mortimer, 
Audley, Damory, Mowbray, Berkley, Tyes or Toys, Giffard and Talbot were the most distinguished. 
Finding that their menaces were disregarded, they proceeded to violence, and committed terrible 
devastation upon D'Espencer's property in ( damorganshire, killing and imprisoning his servants, 
burning, defacing and destroying his castles, and carrying off the effects found therein to a very 
great value, and they afterwards made such havoc in his manors in the western counties that twenty 
thousand pounds would have been insufficient to repair the damages. The insurgents then entered 
into a strict league with the Earl of Lancaster, and thus became sufficiently powerful to enforce a 
sentence of banishment against the obnoxious favourites. Both the D'Espencers were then abroad, 
and upon this account found it necessary to prolong their absence, yet afterwards they recovered 
sufficient strength to appeal against the sentence as informal and illegal, inasmuch as it had been 
passed against the king's will, and without the free assent of parliament, both being at the time 
in a kind of duress, and overawed by a force which they durst not contradict ; these and other 
pleas were so successfully maintained and argued in their favour, that a reversal was speedily obtained, 
and the father and son recovered their liberty and property. 


'• The faction still continuing in rebellion, the king, by the advice of his council, resolved to make 
head against them, and by force of arms to reduce them to obedience; so vigorously were his measures 
at this time carried into effect that several of the most powerful barons submitted to his mercy ; 
but the Earl of Hereford with some others, and about three thousand of his followers, marched 
northwards, to join the Earl of Lancaster. Of those who submitted, the two Mortimers were sent 
to the Tower, Maurice Berkley and Hugh Audley (the father) to the castle of Wallingford, and the 
rest were imprisoned in different places, until it could be determined in what manner they were to 
be treated. The others, upon the determination of the truce with Scotland, joined the standard of 
Robert Bruce, but the cowardice of Lancaster, who fled at the first approach of the king's forces, 
entirely ruined their cause and they were defeated ; the Earl of Hereford, endeavouring to pass the 
bridge at Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire, was run through the body with a lance, by a Welshman, 
as is said, who lurked beneath it. He was buried at the Friars' Preachers at York, and his death 
happened, according to Dugdale, upon the 6th of March, 1321 ; the Earl of Lancaster was taken 
prisoner in the same battle and publicly executed as a rebel and traitor. Thus ended the great 
rebellion, which for a number of years had miserably embroiled the nation, and depopulated the 

"The younger D'Espencer was now constituted governor of Brecknock castle; and afterwards 
obtained a grant of the lordship, together with Penkelly, Cantreff-Selyff, Blanllyfni, and Dinas, late 
the property of the Earl of Hereford and Roger Mortimer. 1 Giffard and Rhys ap Hywel, who 
had been attainted for the late rebellion. This last was the lineal descendant of Bleddyn ap 
Maenarch and grandson of that Trahaern fychan who was so inhumanly murdered by William de 
Breos of Brecknock. Rhys ap Hywel afterwards joined the party of the Queen, and was principally 
instrumental in seizing the person of his unhappy sovereign, when he was made a prisoner in 
< tlamorganshire. 

"Upon the death of the D'Espencers the several confiscations were reversed, and the property 
restored to the family of the former owners. 


" John de Bohun, eldest son of the deceased earl, succeeded to the family honours and estates. 
He married, first, Alice, daughter of Edmund Fitzalan earl of Arundel, who died in childbirth, and 
was buried in the same grave with her infant son, who expired soon after he was christened ; his 
second wife was Margaret, daughter of Ralph lord Bassett of Drayton, by whom he had no issue. 

i In the fourth (if Edward the Second, Roger Mortimer of and Dinas, and in the following vear had the inheritance of 

Chirk, second son of Roger Morti r of Wigmore, by Maud those lordships confirmed to him by the king, to hold for the 

de Breos, was appointed governor of the castles of Blanllyfni third part of a barony by the service of two knight's fees. 


Owing to his ill stale of health he interfered very little in public business, but appointed his younger 
brother (Sir Edward Bohun) his lieutenant to execute the office of high constable of England: in 
this character he attended the king to Nottingham, when the plan was laid for apprehending the 
atrocious Mortimer, and with his brothers Humphrey and William he was greatly aiding in the 
execution of the business; but though John was not fond of an active life, il seems he had no 
dislike to honours and could occasionally exert himself in the service of his sovereign, for Dugdale 
informs us. that upon the 20th of January, ~<i Edward II. (A.D. 1326) he was made a knight of the Bath, 
and had by Prince Edward's special commands the robes of an earl, for thai solemnity, allowed him 
out of the king's wardrobe, after which, being girt with the sword of knighthood, lie went with 
Edward the Third, in the first year of his reign to Scotland, and in the ninth of the same king's 
reign he was also in another expedition to that country. He died in 1335, and was buried at the 
abbe} 7 of Stratford le Bow, being at the time of his death possessed of the following manors: a 
tenement called Blanch- Applet on. in the city of London ; the manor of Wokesey, in Wiltshire : 
Whittenhurst, in Gloucestershire; the castles of Hay, Brecknock, Oaldecott and Huntingdon, in Wales 
and the Marches ; the manor of Agmondesham, in the county of Bucks ; Northamstead, in Hampshire ; 
Enfield, in Middlesex; Farnham, Dunmow, Fobbing, Querndon, Badewe and Deepden in Essex; 
Kenebauton, with the castle and honour in Huntingdonshire ; Walden, great Waltham and Plessets 
(or l'lessy) with the castle in Essex also, and the lordship of Donne also in Middlesex, which he 
held jointly with his second wife Margaret. Eleanor, a sister of this earl, was married to James le 
Botilier, Earl of Carrick, afterwards Earl of Ormond. Carte says, that in the third year of the reign 
of Edward the Third, the king gave licence to Edward (he should have said John) de Bohun. Earl 
of Hereford, to grant the manors of Kilpec and Trunell in the county of Hereford, and the bailiffship 
of the forest of Hay, to the said James Earl of Ormond and Eleanor his wife, and the heirs of their 
bodies. From the issue of this marriage descended the celebrated James Butler, duke of Ormond, 
who, upon the restoration of Charles the Second, was created Earl of Brecknock ami Baron of Llanthony. 


'Humphrey de Bohun succeeded to the titles and property of his brother John, when he was 
twenty-four years of age. Dugdale styles him, ' Nobilis Armiger Seigneur de Brekennock.' In 
the eleventh of Edward the Third (A.D. 1337) he had one hundred and forty six pounds fourteen 
shillings and eight-pence assigned him for the wages of thirty men at arms, of his retinue in the 
garrison of Perth in Scotland, from the fourteenth of November, in the tenth year of that king's 
reign, to the twentieth of April then next following ; and in the fourteenth of the same monarch, 
he was in the great naval engagement at Sluys, when the French were defeated : afterwards in his 
character of high constable of England, he attended the king in his expedition to France, accom- 
panied by three hundred men from his lordship of Brecknock. In 1347 he was called upon to 
collect as many men as could be found fit for service within his territories, for the defence of the 
kingdom, and in the twenty-sixth of Edward the Third, that monarch apprehending an invasion by 
the French, commanded Humphrey de Bohun forthwith to repair to some of his lordships in Essex, 
there to give his assistance in case any stick attempt should 1m- made ; and upon a commission of 
array in the same year, he was charged with sixty men for his honour of Brecknock, after which 
nothing more is heard of his military exploits. 

■ Upon some offence given him he wholly disfranchised the burgesses of Brecknock, revoking and 
rescinding all grants and charters whatsoever given them by his ancestors, and deaf to all entreaties. 
as well as the most humble submission, he kept them in a state of servile dependence during the 
remainder of his life. The cause of this arbitrary proceeding is not known, but probably the men 
of Brecknock proved refractory upon the subject of the levies. Hugh Thomas upon this, remarks 
with some spleen thai 'he was never married, and always sick, which made him a cross peevish 
old bachelor.' The monks of Walden however speak more handsomely of him, ' Humfredus de 
Bohun &c. Londoni.e quiescit in ecclesia Fratrum Augustinensium, qui claustrum nostrum et illorum 
honorifiee construxit ; seterna gaudia reddet ei Altissimus, cpii singulis secundum viris meritum confert 
diversa stipendia meritorum.' 


"By his will, dated in October 1361, a short period before his death (in which he styles himself 
'Counte de He'ford et D'Eez (Essex) et Seign'r de Breken),' he devised one hundred marks to the 
priory of Saint John's in Brecknock, to be divided among them for the benefit of the bouse, provided 
they would pardon and assoil him for what he owed them, and pray for him; to the friars preachers 
of Brecon he gave ten pounds to pray for him. and to the like religious order at Chelmsford ten 
pounds upon the same condition : he particularly enjoined that his jewels should be the last things 


sold, and that after payment of his dehts their value should he applied to charitable purposes, 
' because (says he) we have great delight in looking at them.' He died at his castle of Plessy 
or Plesset in Essex, leaving his brother William's son his heir. 

" Tn 1346 the castles of Blanllyfni and Dinas, late Roger Mortimer's, were by grant from the 
crown held by Gilbert lord Talbot of Goodrich castle (who in the fourth of this reign had been con- 
stituted justice of South Wales), for the term of his natural life, and afterwards in consideration 
of his eminent services to the State, the grant was extended to the inheritance of these demesnes. 
He <licd this year, and was succeeded by his son Richard, who was then charged with the rinding 
one hundred men well armed from his lordships of Blanllyfni, Crickhowel and Ystradyw. 

" William de Bohun the twin brother of Edward, who was drowned after the death of his brother 
John, was created Earl of Northampton, by King Edward the Third ; he married Elizabeth daughter 
of the Lord Bartholomew of Baddlesmere, and widow of Lord Eclmond de Mortimer, in whose right 
he held the lordship of Melenydd in Radnorshire, and other possessions in the Marches. He died 
September 15, 1350, and was buried at Walden, leaving the earldom of Northampton to his son 
Humphrey, who upon the death of his uncle succeeded also to the earldoms of Hereford and Essex, 
and all the family honours and estates, but being a minor, he was committed to the guardianship 
of Richard Fitzalan Earl of Arundel (whose daughter Joan he afterwards married), 'whereupon (says 
Bugdale) he had licence from the king to travel, and the next year being of full age, he. had livery 
of his lands : shortly after which, viz., in the fortieth of Edward the Third (A.D. 1366) he was 
the principal person employed in that embassie unto Galachius duke of Milan, to treat with him for 
a marriage betwixt Leonel duke of Clarence and Violanta daughter of that duke; and in the forty- 
third of Edward the Third (A.D. 1369), he was in that expedition then made into Franco, so also in 
the forty-sixth of Edward the Third.' (A.D. 1372). 

" According to Hugh Thomas he lived in great splendour in the castle of Brecknock, which he 
considerably enlarged, and fitted up in the best style of the times. To conciliate the good will and 
friendship of his neighbours, he restored to the disfranchised burgesses, all those chartered liberties 
of which the severity of his uncle Humphrey had deprived them. 


"By a charter, dated at Brecknock February 16th, the thirty-ninth of Edward the Third, upon 
a fine of sixty marks, he privileged them to hold a fair for sixteen days together, viz., eight days 
before, and eight days after the festival of St. Leonard (16 November) annually : this, together with 
the large demand for provisions of every kind, occasioned by the hospitality of the Earl, and the 
great resort of company to the castle, elevated Brecknock to a consequence it had never known 
before, and made it the great mart of South Wales. The character of this noble lord was as 
conspicuous on the theatre of public life, as it was amiable within the smaller circle of his dependents ; 
he has been just now seen discharging a very important trust, in which the interest of the royal 
family was concerned, and repeatedly accompanying his sovereign to France. In the forty-fifth of 
Edward the Third (1371) he was again employed in a diplomatic mission to the Duke of Bretagne, 
for the purpose of concluding an alliance with that prince against France, and was present in the 
same year in the naval fight, in which the Flemish fleet under Peterson was defeated. For eleven 
years he lived a, friend and blessing to all around him, and when he died, they lost a father, a good 
and worthy lord. 


"He died, in 1377. and was buried at Walden (although his effigies in stone is in the south aisle 
of the choir of Gloucester), leaving two daughters, Eleanor married to Thomas Plantagenet, sirnamed 
of Woodstock, sixth son of King Edward the Third, and Mary who married Henry Karl of Derby, 
afterwards King Henry the Fourth. The earldoms of Essex and Northampton were the inheritance 
of the eldest, and in her right, enjoyed by her husband, who was appointed constable of England, 
during the royal pleasure; the Earl of Derby was created duke of Hereford. The lordship of Brecon 
seems to have remained in settlement during the widowhood of Joan the countess dowager of Hereford. 
Eleanor died the 3rd of October 1390, and was buried at St. Edmund's Chapel, Westminster, where 
her monument still remains; .Mary died in the year 1419, and was buried in the abbey of Walden in 


'Thus ended the male line of the noble race of the Bohuns lords of Brecknock, the last of whom 
made ample amends for the tyranny or worthlessness of some of his predecessors, most of whom 
seemed to have considered their Welsh territories of no further use than as a source of revenue, or 
a nursery for soldiers. 


'■ In the parliament held at Westminster, the twenty-eight of Edward the Third, Roger the son 
of Edmond Mortimer obtained a reversal of the judgment given against his father as erroneous and 
void, upon which he was restored to the title of Karl of March, and had restitution of the 
lordships of Blanllyfni and Dinas, with several others of the forfeited estates. He died February 
26, 1360, the thirty fourth of Edward the Third, at Ronera in Burgundy, possessed of the manors 
and castles of Radnor, Gwrthrynion, Cwmydauddwr, Cefnllys, Melenydd, Pilleth and Knucklas in 
Radnorshire, the cantred of Builth and the manors ami castles of Blanllyfni and Dinas in Breck- 
nockshire, and of a moiety of the lordship of Ewyas in Herefordshire. He was brought to England 
to he buried, and though his sepulture took place in Wigmore Abbey, yet there was a solemn obsequie 
kept tor him in the royal chapel at Windsor, the king assigning a cloth of gold called Beaudekyn 
(Royal Wills) out of his great wardrobe for the celebration thereof ; he was succeeded in title and 
estate by Edmond his son and heir. 


■• Henry the Fourth, sirnamed of Bolingbroke (where he was born), by his marriage with Mary 
the youngest daughter of Humphrey de Bohun the last, enjoyed (he earldom of Hereford, and was 
afterwards elevated to the dukedom, he had also the lordship of Brecknock in reversion, though 
Hugh Thomas gives it to his uncle, who married the eldest sister. To follow Henry through all 
his circumstances until he deposed his cousin Richard the Second, and assumed the crown, will be 
wholly unnecessary, and indeed irrelevant here; that he was an usurper is clear, for Richard's 
resignation was undoubtedly forced, and he had previously declared the Earl of March his heir. 
There is something very singular in the character of this unfortunate monarch, as described by 
historians, as well as Shakespeare: in the early part of his life, and while he sat upon the throne, 
he was thoughtless, extravagant, fickle, fond of dress, and entirely addicted to gaiety and dissipation. 

Fair laughs the morn and soft the zephyr blows, 
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, 

hi gallant trim the gilded vessel goes, 
Youth at the prow ami pleasure at the helm, 
Regardless el" the furious whirlwind's sway, 
Which hush'd in grim repose expects his evening's prey. 1 

"Yet though we see the captain of (he ship, while the favouring gale continued, talking like a 
fool, acting like a madman, and playing •such antic tricks before high heaven as made the angels 
weep." yet the howling of the blast no sooner reaches his ears, than all his follies fly with it, no 
sooner does the iron arm of adversity fall upon the hitherto giddy and unthinking Richard, than 
he becomes the hero and the philosopher, the moralist and the christian. Though Shakespeare may 
not be correct as to the very words used by him, the poet is better supported by history, even 
in the most minute particulars of his conduct after he was deserted by his subjects, than is generally 
supposed. There is something so truly pathetic, so extremely beautiful in the reflections of the 
son of " the sable warrior,' upon hearing of the fate of some of his favourites, that we cannot resist 
reminding the reader of them : — 

Within the hollow crown 
That rounds the mortal temples of a king; 
Keeps Death Ins court, and there the Antick sit - 

Scoffing his state ami grinning at his ] ip, 

Allowing linn a breath; a little scene 

To monarehize, be fear'd and kill with looks ; 

Infusing Iiiin with self and vain conceit, 

As it this flesh, which walls about our life. 

Were l.rass miprej niMe ; and huniour'd thus, 

< 'i s at the last . and with a little pin 

Bores through his castle wall, — and fan-well king '- 


•' During the four first years of the reign of Henry the Fourth, the territory of Brecknock was 
greatly harrassed by the incursions of that bold and enterprizing chieftain Owen Glvndwr or 
Glyndwrdwy, who exclusive of (he enmity which he inveterately bore to the house of Lancaster. 
had a personal quarrel with the well known David Gam, a native of that county, and a warm 
supporter of the Lancastrian interest. Irritable as these chiefs and indeed all Welshmen are supposed 
to be, they were tired by tin- madness of party rage and opposing factions, insomuch that their 
resentmnt against each other became as violent as it was implacable. A brief introduction to these 
celebrated partizans may not perhaps be unacceptable. Einion, the second son of Rhys ap Hywel, 

1 Gray's Bard. dames m Richard the Third arc tolerated, some of Shakespeare's 

- We cannot help lamenting that this drama is not more most beautiful | isss in Richard the Second are almost over- 
familiar to an English audience ; while the curses of the bel- looked. 


whose attainder has been noticed, embraced a military life, and served our Third Edward in the 
memorable battles of Cressy and Poictiers ; after a long residence in England he returned to his 
native country with considerable opulence, and married the rich heiress of Howel, lord of Miscin in 
Glamorganshire. He became possessed by purchase of nearly the whole of what is now called the 
hundred of Devynnock, from Llywel on the borders of Carmarthenshire to the river Tarell near 
Brecon. He built a castellated mansion for his residence in the parish of Llanspyddid, lately called 
the castle field, now (1805) the property of Penry Williams of Penpont, Esq. It is described to have 
been situated on the fall of a small brook into the Usk, near Bettws or Penpont chapel : there is 
still an unevenness in the surface of the ground, though there are not now the smallest vestiges 
of buildings remaining. Hugh Thomas, who wrote in 1698, recollects to have seen the ruins, and 
there were others living in 1805 who remember the rubbish being removed and the soil cleared of the 
stones and materials of the walls : it was called from the owner, Castell Einion Sais, or Einion the 
Englishman's castle, an appellation by which the Welsh sometimes distinguish not only the English 
settlers among them, but also their own countrymen, who have been brought up and educated in 

david gam, Shakespeare's " fluelltn." 
"David Llewelyn or Dafydd ap Llewelyn, generally called David Cam, or squinting David, was 
the fourth in descent from Einion Sais, and inherited the estate and demense of Castell Einion Sais ; 
his father Llewelyn had also purchased the mansions and lands of Peyton (Wallice Peityn), now 
called Peityn gwin, Peityn du, and Peityn glas, in the parishes of Garthbrengy and Llancldew, from 
William Peyton, the last Brecknockshire resident of that Norman family, for three hundred marks. 
In consequence of an affray in the High Street of Brecknock, in which David unfortunately killed 
his kinsman Ritsiart fawr o'r Slwch. he was compelled to fly into England, and to avoid a threatened 
prosecution for the murder, attached himself to the Lancastrian party, to whose interest he ever after- 
wards most faithfully adhered. There can be little doubt but that Shakespeare in his burlesque 
character of Eluellin intended David Gam, though for obvious reasons, as his descendants were then 
well known and respected in the English court, he chose to disguise his name. We have called Eluellin 
a burlesque character, because his pribbles and prabbles, which are generally out heroded, sound 
ludicrously to an English as well as a Welsh car- Yet after all, Llewelyn is a brave soldier and an 
honest fellow; he is admitted into a considerable degree of intimacy with the king and stands high 
in his good opinion, which is strong presumptive proof, notwithstanding Shakespeare, the better to 
conceal his object, describes the death of Sir David Gam, that he intended David Llewelyn by 
this portrait of the testy Welshman, for there was no other person of that country in the English 
army, who could have been supposed to have been upon such terms of familiarity with the king. 
And it must be observed, that Llewelyn was the name by which he was known in that army, and 
not Gam or squinting, by which epithet, though it was afterwards assumed by his family, he would 
probably have knocked down any man who dared to address him. By his behaviour on this 
memorable day, he in some measure made amends for a life of violence and rapine, and raised his 
posterity into riches and respect ; but alas ! how weak, how idle is family pride, how unstable worldly 
wealth ! At different periods between the years 1550 and L700, we have seen the descendants of 
this hero of Agincourt (who lived like a. wolf and died like a lion.) in possession of every acre of 
ground in the county of Brecon ; at the commencement of the eighteenth century we find one of 
them, common bellman of the town of Brecknock, and before the conclusion, two others supported 
by the inhabitants of the parish where they resided, and even the name of Games in the legitimate 
line extinct. 1 

The boast of heraldry, tin- pomp of power, 
And all that beauty, all that wealth e're gave, 

Await alike th' inevitable hour: 
The paths of glory lead but to the -rave. 


" Owen ap Griffith fychan, commonly called Owen Glyndwr, was a gentleman of North Wales, 
liberally educated at the English Inns of Court anil intended for the bar, but he afterwards quitted 
the study of the law and had an appointment in the household of Richard the Second. Walsingham 
says, he was scutifer or esquire of the body to that king; and Carte asserts, that he was actually 
attendant upon the royal person when he was seized anil made prisoner at Flint Castle. Henry 
had no kindness for Owen, on account of the fidelity and friendship he bore to Richard, and Owen 
was as much dissatisfied with the usurper, for the traitorous, though successful designs he had formed 

1 Of this we have since had some reasons to entertain doubts, though the tradition of the family is against the legitimacy of 
that branch who now boar the name. 


and executed, as well as the wrongs he had done to his late royal master. Owen's estate, which 
was considerable, lay contiguous to the demesne of Reginald lord Grey of Ruthin, who in the true 
spirit of a marcher, made several very unwarrantable encroachments upon Owen's property, who 
sought for redress in the king's courts of law, but without success. Henry, upon his expedition to 

Scotland, summoned all the military tenants of the crown to attend him . - of the writs for this 

purpose was delivered to Reginald, who maliciously detained it until the day before the general 
rendezvous at Newcastle, so thai it was impossible Owen could obey it. This was evidently done 
with a design to subject him to the forfeiture of Ins lands, but without waiting for any legal process 
of confiscation, he himself most unjustly and by force of arms, seized upon part of the possessions 
of Owen, depending upon his interest at court to sanction these violent measures. Sensible that he 
had little to expect from the royal clemency, and despairing of justice in any other way, Owen 
had recourse to the sword, and returning force for force, obtained possession of his estate. 


"Upon the king's return from Scotland, the lord Grey complained to him of the injury he had 
received, and the sovereign without entering into the merits of the dispute (to avoid the tedious 
and puzzling mode adopted by lawyers, of hearing both sides of the question), instantly gave him a 
commission, in which Lord Talbot was included, to assemble troops and apprehend Owen as a traitor 
and a rebel; and so suddenly did tiny come upon him, that it was with difficulty he escaped into 
the mountains. Finding that his enemy was thus protected while he was prescribed, Owen now 
resolved upon an extremity which he at first little thought of; he threw off his allegiance to the 
English crown ami boldly 'assumed the style and character of prince of Wales iA.D. 1400). To his 
countrymen he urged his maternal descent from Llewelyn ap Griffith, who was defeated and slain 
near Builth, though in fact he was descended only from a younger brother of the house of Powis ; 
the very name however of a British prince was sufficient to rouse the spirit of the Welsh. Numbers 
crowded to his standard, and he became daily more formidable ; thus supported, he showed no mercy 
to his enemies— burning anil laying waste the property of all those who adhered to the cause of 


" It is remarkable that Owen met with the greatest opposition from his own first cousin Hywel 
Sele of Nannau, who was a. zealous favourer of the house of Lancaster, Of his vengeance for an 
iniquitous attempt of this relation, .Mr. Pennant gives the following account, 'I have been informed 
that the abbot of Cwmmer near Dolgelli, in hopes of reconciling them, brought them together, and 
to all appearance effected his charitable design. While they were walking out, Owen observed a 
doe feeding, and told Hywel who was reckoned the best archer of Ins days, that there was a tine 
mark for him. Hywel bent his bow. and pretending to aim at the doc. suddenly turned and dis- 
charged the arrow full at the breast of Glyndwr, who fortunately had armour beneath his clothes, 
and so received no hurt. Enraged at this treachery, he seized on Sele. burnt his house and hurried 
him away from the place, nor could anyone learn how he was disposed of; till forty years after, 
the skeleton of a large man was discovered in the hollow of a great oak. in which Owen was 
supposed to have immured him in reward for his perfidy. The rums of the old house are to be seen in 
Nannau park, a mere compost of cinders and ashes.' 


"The next exertion of Owen's assumed power, was the summoning a parliament at Machynlleth in 
Montgomeryshire, and here he was successful beyond his most sanguine expectations. Numbers of 
the Welsh nobility and gentry were obedient to' his call, and pledged their lives and fortune to 
support his cause, and here among the rest came David Gam, 1 but he came not as the friend 
of his country, or even from motives of curiosity ; he approached the court of one with whom it 
does not appear that at this time he had any personal quarrel, armed with the poigniard of an 
assassin. In a word it is strongly suspected he was employed by Henry to murder Owen : the 
plot however by timely discovery was rendered ineffectual, and the foul agent of it taken into custody, 
when he certainly would have suffered an ignominious death, but for the intercession of some of 
Owen's best friends in his behalf. He was still however detained in prison at Machynlleth, although 
he was sometime afterwards released (as the Welsh historians say) upon his parole of honour and 

1 Carte, and upon his authority Pennant, erroneously .all Ednyfed Gam. a nobleman of North Wales, of the house of Tudor 

David Gam the brother in law of" Glyndwr, and state liim to Trevor; a similarity of names and an ignorance of the pedigree 

have married one of Owen's sisters. I'll.- faet >-. that David occasioned the mistake, Cam i- crooked but when applied to 

married GwenLHan. the daughter of Gwylym ap Hywel grach, the person means any defect in the eyes or limbs, 
and Morfudd the sister of Glyndwr was married to David ap 


engaging not to serve against Glyndwr in his present contest with England : yet notwithstanding 
this undertaking, upon his return to Brecknock he broke his faith and recommenced a formidable 
opposition, persecuting with the greatest rancour all who were attached to Owen. It was probably 
at his instigation or that of his friends, that the country people destroyed the castle of Dinas, then 
belonging to Edmund Mortimer, who compelled by the impolitic conduct of Henry, who neglected to 
ransom him, had joined the faction of Glyndwr. Leland notes, that 'the people about Dinas did 
burn Dinas castel, that oene Glindour should not kepe it for his fouteres ' (favourers). 


"The unexampled successes of Owen's forces and supporters, thus strengthened by the aid of the 
house of Mortimer, and afterwards of the gallant Hotspur, made Henry tremble on his throne. All 
the castles in Wales and the Marches wen- forthwith strongly fortified, and Englishmen of approved 
fidelity appointed governors. Brecknock was entrusted to Sir Thomas Berkley with a power of 
demanding assistance from the sheriffs of six adjoining counties, should necessity require it ; Llandovery 
to John Touchet lord Audley, Laugharne to Sir Henry le Scropc, Criekhowell (A.D. 1403) to John 
Pauncefoot, Tretower to Sir James Berkley, Abergavenny and Harold's Ewyas to Sir William 
Beuchamp, Goodrich to Sir Thomas Neville of Furnivale, Eardisley to Sir Nicholas Montgomery, 
Caerleon and Usk to Sir Edward Charlton of Powis, Caerphili and Ewyas Lacy to Constance dowager 
lady Despenser. Manerliier to Sir John Cornwall, Payneastle and Royll (Elvel or Colwyn) to Thomas 
earl of Warwick, Huntingdon to Anne countess of Stafford, Lionshall and Dorston to Sir Walter 
Fitzwalter, Stapleton to John Brian baron of Burford, Brampton to Brian de Brampton and the 
castle of Snowdon to Sir John Chandos. 1 Every precaution was also taken to render these 
fortresses secure. Proclamations of pardon were soon afterwards issued out with a commission to 
Sir John Oldcastle knight. John ap Henry and John Fairford clerk (vicar of Llanvillo, and prebendary 
of Garthbrengy in Breoonshire), to extend the royal clemency to all such rebels within the lordships 
of Brecknock, Cantreff-Selyff, Hay. Glynbwch and Dinas, as should immediately return to their 
allegiance, and deliver up their arms offensive and defensive ; the king at the same time reserving to 
himself the right of disposal of their estates and properties. This instrument is dated at Devynnock, 
September 15, 1403. and is subscribed ' per ipsum regem,' as is a pardon granted the day before, 
dated at Hereford, to the rebels of Abergavenny and others, so that it should seem Henry himself 
was in Breconshire in September 1403. 

" In the year following, John Touchet, lord Audley, was associated with Richard Beauchamp, earl 
of Warwick and lord of Abergavenny, in defence of the castle, town and lordship of Brecknock for 
one whole year, having one hundred men at arms, and three hundred archers on horseback, assigned 
them for that purpose, with an allowance of twelve-pence a day for each man at arms, and to each 
archer six-pence. 

owen's victories, and defeat in Brecknockshire. 

" All these preparations served only to shew the very formidable height to which Owen had 
arrived in the English court, and raised his character still higher in the opinion of his countrymen ; 
still he repeated his incursions into South Wales, and terror and desolation everywhere accompanied 
his steps. In Gwentland it is true he met with a repulse, but he soon recovered his temporary 
check and suddenly rallying his men, he overtook the English army at Craig y Dorth in Monmouth- 
shire, where he gained a complete victory, and pursued them to the very gates of Monmouth. From 
hence he proceeded forward, burning and destroying all before him : towns, villages, castles and forts 
fell indiscriminately sacrifices to his fury. Among others the castle of Abergavenny and the town 
and castle of Caerdifi were destroyed, excepting only a street in the latter, in which the monastery 
of Franciscan friars was situated, — a religious body supposed to have been favourable to the cause 
of Owen. He afterwards sent his eldest son Griffith with an army into Brecknockshire, where after 
an obstinate engagement at Mynidd y Pwll Melin (a hill now not known by that name, but supposed 
to be in the hundred of Crickhowel), he was defeated, and as some say, taken prisoner by the Prince 
of Wales, with the loss of fifteen hundred men. Among the dead bodies on the field, was one which 
resembled Owen so strongly, that it was currently reported he was slain ; but upon more minute 
inquiry, it was found to be his brother Tydyr or Tudor, who was so extremely like him in features, 
that they might easily be mistaken for each other, excepting that Owen had a little wart above one 
of his eyebrows, which the other had not. The report of the discomfiture and death of their leader 
disheartened the Welsh, and numbers, particularly in Glamorganshire, threw themselves upon the 

1 It should seem that Sir John Chandos afterwards was ap- now at Abergwili, that in 1406 Richard Andrew clerk was pin- 
pointed governor, or had the custody of Penkelley castle in sented or nominated to officiate in the free chapel (St. Leonard's) 
Breconshire, for it appears by the bishop of St. David's register, within the castle of Penkelley, by Sir John Chandos, Knight. 


ed. For some 

years longer did he 

the lulu 

re operations i 

if the war. though 

i observ 

ation that In 

the midst of these 

round In 

in. the palace 

of Glyndwr was the 

Awen or 

Bril isli muse. 

at this period, once 


mercy of the king, but Owen, though weakened, was not 
continue his exertions ami set Henry at defiance, but I 
interesting, are irrelevant here; it is however worthy ol 
tumults, and while death stalked in a thousand shapes ai 
seal of festivity and harmony. The martial spirit, the . 

more revived to celebrate the heroic enterprizes of her darling chieftain. Like himself, the bards 
of his time were irregular and wild, and as the taper glimmering in the socket gives a sudden blaze 
before it is extinguished, so did they produce a few scintillations of genius, which brought down to 
that age the recollection of the splendour of the former bards, and then sunk into ever-during dark- 
ness upon the fall of their patron and their friend. But though poetry flourished, learning certainly 
suffered from the boisterousness of the times, for such was the unrelenting and indiscriminate fury of 
the English, as well as the Welsh, that monastries and their libraries containing many very valuable 
manuscripts were destroyed: a loss, the more to be lamented, as it can never be repaired. Henry 
began this unmanly and mischievous species of warfare, 1 and Owen did not hesitate to follow 
his example when an opportunity occurred, and neither side bestowed a thought upon the injury 
they were doing to posterity by the destruction of those documents, which as men of learning (for 
both had claim to that character), it should have been their study to preserve. 


"It has been said of Owen as if was of Hannibal, that if he had known how to use victory as 
well as to obtain it, he would effectually have checked the power of an encroaching foe, and probably 
have restored to Wales her ancient independence ; he was undoubtedly brave, and fitted for command, 
but the errors of the Carthaginian were the errors of Owen. Thus, as Hannibal lost sight of the 
advantages of victory, when he loitered at Cannae, so Glyndwr, if he could not join Percy before 
the battle of Shrewsbury (as .Mr. Pennant suggests), certainly wanted policy in not attacking the 
troops of Henry immediately after that engagement, and by this neglect ultimately sealed the ruin of 
his cause ; and as the luxuries of Capua enervated the troops of Carthage, so did the plunder which 
the Welsh acquired, render them rich and factious, and Owen after a stand for several years against 
the whole power of England, at length found himself forsaken by his friends, ami compelled to retire 
to the mountains for safety. Even here he might have made terms with Henry ; indeed, Stowe 
says, he was actually pardoned at the intercession of David Holbetche, 2 Esq, but he disdained 
submission, and determined to die as he had lived, free. 

owen's death and supposed burial place. 

" After wandering about for a time from place to place unnoticed and unknown, he took up his 
last refuge at Monnington, or as some say Kentchurch, where in the arms of filial piety he found 
protection, and died September 20, 1415, aged sixty-one. 

"The place of this chieftain's interment has been a matter of doubt and inquiry among historians. 
Carte says, it was in the churchyard at Monnington, and the following extract from a MS. in the 
British Musauim makes it probable; it at least infers a local tradition of the circumstances: 'About 
the year 1680, the church of Monnington was rebuilt, in the churchyard of which stood the trunk of 
a sycamore, in height about nine feet, and two and a half in diameter, which being in the workmen's 
way was cut down: a foot below the surface of the ground was laid a large grave-stone without any 
inscription ; on its being removed there was discovered at the bottom of a well stoned grave, the 
body (as it is supposed) of Owen Glyndwr, which was whole and entire and of a goodly stature, but 
there was no appearance of any remains of a coffin ; where any part of it was touched, it fell to 
powder. After it had been exposed for two days the stone was again placed over it and the earth 
was cast upon it.' 


" In the third year of Henry the Fourth he granted to the burgesses of Brecon 3 and the 
inhabitants, an exemption from tolls, murage, 4 piccage and pannage, during pleasure, and in the 

1 In 1400, Henry plundered the convent of Franciscans at ins form the genera] custom of the Welsh, preserved their sir- 

Llanvaes. in Anglesea. ami rami. I away the monks prisoners, name, while the descendants of the younger children assumed 

under pretence that they supported Glyndwr. many years afterwards the names of Llwyd and Hughes. 

- David Holbetche, sed recte Holbwrch, was made a denizen '■ Records in the Tower of London. 3 Hen, 4. pt. 1, in. 21. 

or five citizen of England, in the eighth ol Henrj the Fourth, 4 Muragium, a taN or payment towards repairing the walls 

Cotton's Records by Prynne, p. 458. The ancestor of the tribe of a castle or fortified town. Piccagium, a payment i". lea' e 

of Holbwrch was named Llwarch Holbwrch : they were a Den- to dig holes in a pitching of a market town, to place the sup 

bighshire family: it is remarkable that the eldest branch differ- porters of stalls or standings. Pannage has been before explained. 


thirteenth year of his reign, 1 by a general inspeximus of all former charters, he renewed and 
confirmed to the monks of Brecknock all those grants which the munificence and piety of former 
benefactors had conferred upon them ; in the following year he granted to the burgesses of Brecon 
the first royal charter they had ever enjoyed. The attachment of Sir David Gam and his adherents 
to his person and family* and the possession of the lordship in right of his wife, account for this 
partiality to the inhabitants of Brecknock ; to the remainder of the principality he was a cruel and 
merciless tyrant. His son Henry the Fifth, by charter, dated May 12, 1415, renewed and confirmed 
all the ancient privileges of the burgesses of Brecknock ; in addition to their ancient fair upon St. 
Leonard's day he granted them the privileges of holding two more fairs for eight days before and 
eight days after the nativity and decollation of St. John the Baptist annually." 

1 Records in the Tower, 13 H. 4, p. 1, m 5. 



General History Concluded. From the Accession of the Lordship of Brecknock by the Stafford Family, to 

the year 1800. 

UPON" the death of Johanno countess dowager of Hereford, Anne the widow of Edmond earl of 
Stafford, who was slain in the battle of Shrewsbury, and daughter of Thomas Plantagenet 
late duke of Gloucester, demanded of the king a division of her late grandmother's esta e ; upon 
which Henry generously gave up to her and her son the earldoms of Buckingham. Essex, Hereford 
and Northampton, the lordship of Brecknock and patronage of Llanthony. reserving to himself in his 
mother's right, only the constableship and some estates in England appendant to it. Some 
difficulties afterwards however occurred in making the partition, which produced a petition from the 
countess Anne, stating, that ' the feoffees of Humphrey Bohun conveyed certain lands to Johan de 
Bobun, 1 formerly countess of Hereford, of the annual value of one hundred pounds, to hold to 
the said countess for life, and after her death to Mary and Alianor, daughters and heirs of the said 
earl in fee, that Mary died, and the reversion came to Alianor, from whom it descended to the 
petitioner ; that her deeds relating to the said estate were in the hands of John Leventhorp, council 
for the Duchy of Lancaster, who would not deliver them without an order from the king's council ; 
that a partition was made in the reign of the late king Henry the Fifth, between him as son and 
heir of Mary before mentioned, and the petitioner, of all lands belonging to the said Humphrey 
Bohun, and that in this partition the castle and manor of Brecknock were assigned to the petitioner 
as part of her share, of which castle and manor the seigniories of Brenles. Langoit and Canterceli in 
Wales were parcel. But because doubts had arisen whether they were or were not parcel of the 
same, and no mention was made of them, specifically in such partition, and they were said to be 
seigniories in gross, she prayed for the love of God, and as it would be a work of mercy, that a writ 
might issue under the king's great or privy seal, to levy the rents, issues and profits of the said 
lands, as might be thought most advisable to her and her council.' 


"To which the parliament answered, 'let this petition and our answer being first enrolled in the 
rolls of parliament, Ik- sent to the king's council, and let the lords of the same council there present 
have power to determine thereon, and to make such partition, and generally to execute, do and ordain 
therein, as may be necessary, according to their discretions.'- Upon this petition it was adjudged 
in the seventh of Henry the Sixth, that the lordships therein mentioned, and the ville of Bronllys 
were not parcel of the manor of Brecon, and in the thirty-ninth year of the same reign, 3 the 
forestership of the forest of Cantercely, then belonging to the crown, with the office of seneschal 
and receiver there, as well as of the lordships of Penkelly, Alysanderstone. and Llangote were granted 
to Robert, (or rather Roger) Vaughan of Porthaml, Esq., in whose descendant 4 from a female, 
part of Cantercely now continues, although the whole of it was afterwards granted to Henry duke 
of Buckingham 5 and the heirs male of his body, upon whose attainder it became revested in the 

crown. This lady Stafford married for her second husband William Bourchier earl of Eu : no s ler 

was she possessed of Brecknock than she showed her authority, in disfranchising the borough, 
annulling the acts even of her royal predecessors in their favour, and revoking all grants, charters, 
privileges and immunities whatsoever given them by her noble ancestors, and so kept them during 
the remainder of her life. By her last will she desired to be buried at Llanthony, near Gloucester, 
to which she bequeathed one hundred marks in money, or the value thereof, out of such of her 
moveable goods as should seem best in the discretion of her executors : she died in 1439. 


"The family of Stafford, originally of Norman extraction, was anciently called Toni, and related 
to William the Conqueror. ' Le Sire de Tony ' appears in the Norman chronicle, quoted by Stowe. 

1 Pari. Rolls, H. 6. 4 Lord Ashburnham. 

- Records in the Tower. 7 H. 0, p. 1, m. 3 and i. & Records in the Tower. 17 E. 4. p. 2, m. 14. 

3 Ibid. 39 H. t>, m. 3. 


The first who assumed the name of Stafford was Robert, governor of Stafford castle in the time 
of the Conqueror. The male issue failing after three generations, the heiress married one Bagot, 
of an ancient family whose son assumed the mother's name, which was then usual when the mother's 
rank was superior to the father's : this son's name was Harvey de Stafford. Dugdale calls him 
lord, though it does not appear that as yet any of the family had been honoured with the peerage. 
Edmond de Stafford was created baron Stafford of Stafford castle by king Edward the First. Ralph 
lord Stafford, was seneschal of Aquitain, repulsed John, son of the French king, before Aquilon, 
and shared the honour of the victory at Cressy ; he was also employed in several embassies, installed 
a knight of the garter in the reign of Edward the Third, signalized his valour in reducing the Irish 
rebels, and was created Earl of Stafford in 1350. 

" Our first lord of the name of Stafford was created Duke of Buckingham by King Henry the 
Sixth, in the twenty-third year of his reign, when a whimsical dispute arose about precedence 
between him and Henry Beauchamp, created at the same time Duke of Warwick, which was as 
whimsically determined by an act of parliament, 1 ordaining that they should take precedence 
one, one year, and the other, the next year, and that their posterity should have precedence according 
as who should first have livery of their lands. Luckily the Duke of Warwick died without issue, 
whereupon Humphrey, to prevent the agitation of so important a question in future, obtained a 
grant upon the twenty-second of May, in the twenty-fifth of Henry the Sixth, (A.D. 1447) unto 
himself and his heirs for precedence above all dukes whatsoever, whether in England or France, 
excepting only such as were of the blood nival ; he was afterwards made constable of Dover and 
Queenborough castles, and warden of the Cinque Ports, and in the thirty-eighth year of the same 
reign, in consideration of his great and eminent services to Henry, he had another grant from him 
of all those fines which Walter Devereux (if Weobley, in the county of Hereford, esquire, William 

Hastings of Kirby, in the county of Leicester, esquire, and Walter Hopton of , in the 

county of Salop, esquire, were to make to the king for their transgressions. 


" This Duke of Buckingham, upon his elevation to the title declined his paternal arms, or at 
least postponed and placed them in the last quartering of the field, bearing first, Woodstock, or 
England and France, with a label ; secondly Buhun earl of Hereford ; thirdly Bohun earl of North- 
ampton, and fourthly Stafford, which arms were afterwards borne by his descendants, dukes of that 
name. He restored to the burgesses of Brecon all those privileges of which his mother had deprived 
them, confirming them by a new charter dated at Makestock, April 26th, 21st of Henry the Sixth 
(A.D. 1448). A copy of his inspeximus of all the ancient charters of the borough is preserved among 
the MS. collections of Mr. Hugh Thomas in the Bodleian library at Oxford, and is likewise upon 
record among the archives of the borough. The marked partiality which then prevailed in favour 
of Englishmen to the exclusion of the ancient Britons, will appear strongly from a perusal of the 
following list of burgesses named in this new charter : John Cole, Richard Myle, Llewelyn Burghull, 
Thomas Goldsmyth, Thomas Hunt, Phillip Gerald, Edmond Pycard, David Davowe, William Bennett, 
William Gerald, John Huggin, Benedict Wynter, John Burghull clerk, Thomas Fitzdavid, Richard 
Gerald, John Brady, Walter Scull, Thomas Baker, John Sherburv, William More, John Havard senior, 
John Pecke, Howel Oistres, John Byrre, Llewelyn Fitzjohn, the suns of Llewelyn Draper, John 
Burghull, esq., John Havard junior, Lewis Fitzhowel, John Burghill Fourber, Edmund Porter, John 
Radynor, Richard Baker, Myles Wanter, William Skulle, John Hunt, Myles Wanter Salser, John 
Matthew, John James, John Slyngarth, John Porter, John Gerald, Myles Porter, Roger Porter, John 
Powle, John Gaggowe, Walter Huggin, Hugh Dilwyn, John Baker, Roger Huggyn, John Botte, 
Griffin Hayledyke, Walter Fitztrahearn, Thomas Mortimer, John Glover, John Kewe, Thomas Oliver, 
William Shethe, John Smith. Phillip Oliver. Sampson Paynott, Matthew Porter, John Paynott, Agnes 
Wanter, Cecilia Gunter, .Margaret Bennett, John Pierre point senior, John Pierrepoint junior, Agnes 
Baker, John Mulsander, John Dyer, and Mahel Drencher. ' whom ire esteem to be English people, 
to them and their heirs being English, both upon tlir part of their father and mother.'- The town 
was governed by this charter until the ninth of King Henry the Eighth. 

1 This business might have been settled with infinitely less ap David, Sinn bir or the short, Lewis ap Hywel and Gwalter 

trouble, by the toss of a halfpenny. ap Trahaern, and some of them we suspect are translations of their 

" His grace was mistaken if he thought so; some of these trades into English, as John Baker for Sion bobydd, or the baker; 

persons were Welsh, not only by their parents, but they wire John Dyer for Sion llyw-wr, or the dyer, etc. The Duke's inten- 

also descended from the old inhabitants of Breeonshire, several tions however are evident, yet how their children and descen- 

of the names are clearly disguised, Thomas Fitz David, John dants thereafter to lie born in Wales could be English both by 

Byrre, Lewis Fitzhowel, and Walter Fitztrahaern, for Thomas father and mother is not so clear. 


"To the Welsh tenants and resiants within the honour, this Duke of Buckingham was an implacable 
tyrant, for he burdened them with very heavy taxes and unusual impositions ; his bailiffs distrained 
the cattle of the farmers upon every trivial occasion, using the greatest severity in the exercise of 
their power, and commonly appraising and selling their property at low rates, to answer the exacted 
debts. The freeholders who lived within the lordships were called upon to exhibit the title deeds of 
their estates, or otherwise to submit to the arbitrary disposition of their lord, and many were thus 
ruined through the mere terror or unequal litigation, but still even in these worst of times, some 
few were found who had sufficient fortitude to resist oppression. Among these were Thomas ap 
Jenkin Madoc of Llanfrynach, the ancestor of the late family of Thomas of Slwch, and Evan ap 
Phillip Howel of the same ; both of whom refused to pay either homage or custom for their land, 
or to acknowledge any other lord than the king of England. Evan, upon refusal, was arrested at 
the duke's suit, and imprisoned in the gaol of Gloucester, where he remained three years before 
he obtained even a trial ; at length his cause was heard, and he cast his noble adversary ; thereby 
establishing the manorial rights of his estate, and exempting it from all homage, suit and service 
and the payment of any taxes, except to the crown. 


" During his confinement, his wife built a mill upon his estate, called Velin Vach, which is now 
surrounded by a few houses called Velindre. or Milton : but the Duke of Buckingham, though a bad 
master, was a good subject ; during the multitude of troubles which weighed down the virtuous 
though imbecile Henry the Sixth, lie was the warmest friend and supporter of that persecuted 
monarch. In the first battle with the Yorkists at St. Alban's he lost his son and was himself 
wounded, and finally at Northampton, where the king was made a prisoner (10th of July, 1460), 
he fell a sacrifice to the exertions of his loyalty, and was buried, as some historians say, in the Gray 
Friars at Northampton. He died possessed of the castles, manors and dominions of Brecknock and 
Huntingdon, of the manor of Jonesfidd, or Johnsfield, now called Chancefield, the dominion of 
Talgarth, and also the lordship of Welsh Penkelly. 


" In the early part of this reign died Edmund the last Mortimer earl of March. He was possessed 
of the cantred of Buallt. with its castle, the lordship of Melenydd Radnor, Tal-y-van forest, the 
castle and lordship of Clifford, the lordship of (dazbury, the borough and lordship of Ewvas Lacy, 
the castle, lordship and forest of Dinas, the castle, lordship and borough of Blanllyfni, and the castle, 
lordship and borough of Usk, all of which now devolved to Richard Earl of Cambridge, who had 
married his sister Anne, upon whose attainder, upon his being implicated in Jack Cade's insurrection, 
these possessions again became vested in the Crown. The last Karl of March, a short time before 
his death, granted an annuity of one hundred pounds per annum to Sir John Talbot, who was of his 
household, chargeable upon his lordships of Dinas, Talgarth, Blanllyfni, and other estates in 

" Henry the son of Humphrey earl of Stafford (who was slain in the first battle of St. Alban's), 
by Mary his wife, daughter and coheir to Edmund duke of Somerset, succeeded his grandfather 
as duke of Buckingham, and to all his other honours and titles, but being a minor and a ward 
of government, he was with his brother Humphrey put under the care of Anne duchess ot Exeter, 
the king's sister, who had an assignment of five hundred marks per annum for their maintenance, 
charged upon the lordships of Brecknock, Newport, Wentllwch or Gwentllwg, Hay and Huntingdon. 
During this minority, the stewardship of the castle and lordship ot Brecknock, and of all other castles 
in Wales belonging to the late duke of Buckingham, was given to Sir William Herbert, the first 
earl of Pembroke of that name, who during the reign of Edward the Fourth had a grant of the 
lordships of Crickhowel and Tretower, which upon the marriage of his grand-daughter Elizabeth 
with Charles earl of Worcester became the property of that family, and afterwards of the dukes 
of Beaufort, with whom they continue. Henry, upon his coming of age and doing homage, had 
livery of his honours and estates. During the greater part ot (he reign of Edward the Fourth. 
he lived in retirement within his native walls of Brecknock. Stowe say>, that immediately upon 
the death of this monarch, he offered his services to Richard duke of Gloucester, and suggested to 
him the plan of his future greatness ; for which purpose he sent to him a confidential servant of 
the name of Pershall. to communicate a proposal of his assistance, accompanied with one thousand 
good fellows of his dependents, if the duke of Gloucester wished it. What answer was given to this 


message does not appear, probably affairs were not then sufficiently ripe for placing Richard on the 
throne, though the two friends never afterwards lost sight of the project. 


"Upon the trial of George duke of Clarence, the duke of Buckingham presided as lord high 
steward, and soon after the decease of Edward, he became conspicuous on the stage of public life, 
zealously supporting the pretentions of Gloucester to the crown. The lamentable uncertainty which 
overshadows the transactions of these times, marked only by furious dissensions and party violence, 
when no contemporary historian existed, or at least dared to write impartially upon the subject, 
leaves posterity greatly in the dark as to the real character of persons and the events of this period. 
The life of King Edward the Fifth, has indeed been elegantly and diffusely written by Sir Thomas 
More, who also began but never finished the history of his successor. That Sir Thomas had every 
opportunity of inquiring and making himself thoroughly acquainted with every circumstance lie 
describes, cannot be doubted, and we naturally look for accuracy to one who may almost be con- 
sidered as an eye-witness of the events, for though he was too young to preserve the actual 
remembrance, he must necessarily have heard them talk over it in his youth, with all the various 
comments of the day, and we rnav readily suppose that he made his own reflections upon the subject. 
Upon his authority then, most of "our later writers have described and expatiated upon the cruelties 
of Richard ; hence' we have been accustomed to regard him as an odious unrelenting tyrant, equally 
deformed in body and in mind. That he was bloody, violent and ambitious, we have too many 
reasons to induce us to believe, but still there is room to suspect much exaggeration, when we 
recollect that his biographer was the pupil of Morton and the favourite of Henry. 'Audi alteram 
partem,' though it often creates difficulties and raises doubts, is yet upon the whole a very 
reasonable requisition, and more especially in this case, as there are not wanting those who have 
appreciated him very differently. ' His memory (says Dr. Fuller) has met with a modern pen, 
who has not only purged but praised it to the very height ' : he has indeed met with a very strenuous 
advocate in Mr. Buck. Zealous for the house of York and for the honour of that monarch, in 
whose cause his grandsire lost his head, he has professedly undertaken the defence of Richard, and 
even where he cannot excuse, he labours to extenuate his guilt. Mr. Carte equally disbelieves the 
account of his bodily deformity, and the charges of inordinate cruelty brought against him, and the 
ingenious author of ' ' historic doubts ' on that reign strongly supports the arguments of Mr. Buck, 
insinuating that many of the crimes imputed to that prince, are to lie charged to the malevolence 
and rancour of the Lancastrian party, rather than to any real demerit of his own, but none of his 
apologists can deny that he deposed his nephew, and that lie was not over scrupulous as to the 
means by which it was effected, though they are unwilling to admit the charge of his having 
murdered one or both of the sons ot Edward. The duke ot Buckingham appears to have been 
his confidential agent and chief adviser in all his measures ; a congeniality ot temper first recom- 
mended them to each other, and it is to be teared that many a bloody scene was the result of the 
coalition. Rivers, Hastings, Grey and Vaughan all fell a sacrifice without a trial, and without justice ; 
who can apologize for these murders ? Carte will answer that the lord of Brecknock was the instigator 
and promoter of them ; but will tins acquit the principal of his share of the guilt ? 


"In reward for his unworthy, though effectual services, Buckingham not only received large sums 
of money, but was invested with several lucrative and honourable employments ; he was constituted 
governor of all the king's castles in Wales, and steward of all the royal manors in the counties of Salop 
and Hereford, chief justice and chamberlain of North and South AVales, and lord high constable of England. 
He was also further promised a restitution of all those lands which belonged to the Bohuns earls of 
Hereford, and to which as next in blood, he claimed an hereditary right, though by an act ot 
parliament passed soon after the deposition of the late King Henry they were vested in the Crown. 
Thus royally endowed Buckingham would have been the richest as well as the most powerful 
nobleman in England, but in truth, not so willed Richard. ' It all was farce and nothing more.' 
That wary politician too well knew the principles of his coadjutor not to see the necessity of 
restraining him in time ; he knew Buckingham to be haughty, violent and avaricious, a great 
dissembler, and of consummate art, that he was at heart a Lancastrian, and consequently an 
inveterate enemy to the succession in the house of York, which interested motives alone had induced 
him to support, and though from similar motives he himself had been induced to accept ot his 
services, it was very far from his intention to raise him to the condition of a rival. Having there- 
fore now attained the hi£;h object of his ambition, and fully secured, as he thought, the reins of 
government, he threw off his mask, and treated his hitherto fast friend and supporter with 


••The Duke ill brooking the ingratitude of a man whom at the expense of all that was good and 
honourable, and perhaps the sacrifice of his own peace of mind, lie had thus greatly served, instantly 
turned all his thoughts to vengeance, ami became as eager to dethrone as he had been studious to 
exalt him : thus resolved lie withdrew in deep discontent from court, and shut himself up in his 
castle of Brecknock, where remote from public observation, he indulged his busy thoughts in projects 
to effect his purpose, a fit instrument for which he discovered in a prisoner whom Richard in the 
plenitude of his confidence had committed to his charge. This prisoner was no other than the well 
known John Morton Bishop of Ely, an able and artful politician, originally a zealous Lancastrian, 
but afterwards (having been pardoned) an equally strenuous adherent of the family of Edward, and 
consequently an object of suspicion to the jealous Richard, who thought him too dangerous a man 
to be entrusted to the care of an ordinary gaoler. 


"Stowe 1 as well as Speed has preserved at considerable length the conversation which passed 
between the duke and the bishop in the castle of Brecon on this occasion. The former says, Morton 
soon perceived that Buckingham, 'though he began to praise and boast the king, and showed how 
much profit the realme should take by his raigne,' yet at heart entertained an inveterate animosity 
against him, and was prepared for any measure that might be proposed to humble him, but in 
order to be satisfied beyond all doubts as to the duke's real sentiments on the subject, he very 
artfully observed that it would be folly in him to dissemble, for that he was certain, neither his 
grace or the nation would believe him, if he affected a friendship for Richard. ' I could have wished 
(added he) King Henry's son, and not King Edward had the crown, but after that God had ordered 
that he should lose it. T was never so mad as to strive with a dead man against a quicke, so 
I became King Edward's faithful chaplain, and glad should I have been had his child succeeded 
him, but if the secret judgment of God hath otherwise provided, I purpose not to contend or labour 

to set up him whom God pulleth down, and as for the late protector and now king But 

I have said too much, I will no longer intermeddle with the affairs of this world, but retire to my 
books and my beads.' 

" This abrupt conclusion stimulated the duke's curiosity so much, that he encouraged the bishop 
to proceed ; he told him he need not fear the discovery of his sentiments, that whatever ho said (he 
might confide in him) should be concealed if he chose it, that he wished for his advice and counsel, 
which he said was the only reason why he applied to the king to place him under his custody, 
where he might reckon himself at home. The prelate ' right humblie,' thanked his grace and 
proceeded, ' In good faith my lord I love not to talk much about princes as a thing not at all out 
of peril, even though my words may be innocent because they may not be taken as I mean them. 
but as the prince chuses to construe them ; I often think of that fable of *Esop, in which the lion 
is said to have caused a proclamation to be made that no horned beast should remain in a certain 
wood upon pain of death, upon which one of his subjects that had a bunch of flesh upon his 
forehead fled from thence as fast as he could, but being met by a fox who asked him whither so 
fast, the affrighted animal answered he neither knew or cared, and immediately informed him of 
the proclamation, but you fool, says the fox, yours is not a horn, you have nothing like a horn 
on your head : that 1 very well know replied the other, but if the lion insist upon it it is a horn, 
where am I then ? The duke laughed at this tale and said, ' My lord I warrant you neither the 
lion or the boar shall pick out any matter out of any thing here spoken, for it shall never come 
to their ears.' l In good faith (replied the bishop) the thing I was about to say, taken well (as afore 
God I mean it), would deserve thanks, but being misunderstood might produce me little good and 
you less.' Here he paused again, the duke desired him to proceed. ' Well then (says Morton) as 
for the late protector, since he is king and in possession of the crown, I do not mean to dispute 
his title, but for the welfare of the nation, over whom he governs, of which I am a poor and humble 
member, I could have wished that to those abilities which he certainly possesses, and which are 
far above my praise, it had pleased God to have added those which peculiarily distinguish your 

1 It will he unnecessary to apologise for (lie lung extract It may indeed he said that the bishop nf Ely minuted down the 

from Stowe which has heen slightly passed over by modern his- substance of the conference, hut lie would hardly have preserved 

torians, it develops most clearly the cliara.-trr of the parties, some of the sentiments here detailed, certainly not the words 

and to the inhabitants of Brecon, to whom Ely Tower is a in which they are r rdod, and unfortunately neither of the 

familiar object, it becomes for that and other reasons more chronicles mentioned condescend to give us their authority. 

peculiarly interesting; the conservation as related is extremely It must however I bserved thai both of them lived not long 

plausible, and only one difficulty remains which is to account after the time when the conversation is supposed to have 

for the channel by which this information is conveyed to us. passed. 


grace,' and here he again broke off abruptly, but being encouraged to go on and speak out the whole 
of his mind, with an assurance that whatever he said should be kept as secret as if related to the 
deaf and dumb, with a hint that the duke perceived his prisoner was meditating some project in his 
favour, Morton was prevailed upon apparently to disclose the whole of his designs, especially as he 
knew that the duke was ' desireous to be magnified,' and he saw clearly that at heart he enter- 
tained an inveterate hatred to Richard, lie therefore (as the chronicle says) 'opened his stomach 
from the bottom,' at the same time mixing a little more flattery to sweeten the dose, and proceeded ; 
' My singular good lord, sith the time of my captivitie which being in your Grace's custody, I may 
rather call it a libertie than a straight imprisonment, in avoyding of idleness the mother of all vices, 
in reading bonks and ancient pamphlets I have found this sentence written ; that no man is born 
free and at libertie of himself onely : for one part of his duty he oweth to his parents, another 
part to his friends and kinsfolks, but the native country in which he first tasted this pleasant and 
flattering world demandeth a debt not to lie forgotten ; which saying causeth me to consider in 
what case this rcalme, my native country now standeth, and in what estate and assurance before 
this time it hath continued, what governour wee now have and what ruler wee might have, for I 
plainly perceive (the realme being in this case) must needs decay and be brought to confusion ; 
but one hope I have, that is, when I consider your noble personage, your justice and indifference, 
your fervent zeal and ardent love towards your natural country, and in like manner the love of 
your country towards you, the great learning, pregnant wit and eloquence which so much doth 
abound in your person, I must needs think this realme fortunate which hath such a prince in store, 
meete and apt to bee governour, but on the other side when I call to memorie the good qualities 
of the late protector and now called king, so violated by tyranny, so altered by usurped authentic, 
so clouded by blind ambition, I must needs say he is neither meete to be king of so noble a realme 
nor so famous a realme meet to be governed by such a tyrant ; was not his first enterprize to 
obtaine the crown begun by the murther of divers noble personages ? Did he not secondly precede 
against his own naturall mother declaring her openly to be a woman given to carnale affection and 
dissolute living, declaring furthermore his two brethren and two nephews to be bastards and born in 
adultry '! Yet not contented after he had obtained the garland, he caused the two poor innocents 
his nephewes committed to him to be shamefully murthered ; the blood of which two little babies 
do daily cry to God from the earth for vengeance : what surety shall be in this realme to any 
person for life or goods under such a cruell prince which regardeth not the destruction of his owne 
bloode and then the less the losse of others ? But now to conclude what I mean toward your 
noble person, I say and affirme it if you love God, your linage or your native countrey, you must 
yourself take upon you the crowne of this realme both for the maintenance of the honour of the 
same, as also for the deliverance of our naturall countrymen from the bondage, of such a tyrant, 
and if yourselfe will refuse to take upon you the crowne of this realme I adjure you by the faith 
that you owe to God to devise some way how this realme may be brought to some convenient 
regiment under some good governour.' 


" The duke sighed, and here the conversation ended on this day ; on the morrow however he sent 
for the bishop, who had now discovered so much of his sentiments that in return, Buckingham 
thought he might venture to disclose his own, but if the prelate was artful in his mode of sounding 
his keeper's private opinions, it must be allowed the duke was equally a master of dissimulation, 
and laboured hard to excuse or apologize for the part he had acted on the political theatre. He 
begins with complimenting his prisoner on his abilities, and his love for his country, and adds : 
'Sith at your last communication you have disclosed the secrets of your heart, touching the new 
usurper of the crown, and also have a little touched the advancement of the two houses of York 
and Lancaster, I shall likewise declare to you my privy intents and secret cogitations and to beginne : 
when King Edward was deceased I then began to study and with deliberation to ponder in what 
manner this realme should lie governed; I persuaded with myself to take part with the duke of 
Gloucester, whome I thought to be as clean without dissimulation, as tractable without injury, and 
so by my means hee was made protector both of the king and realme, which authority being once 
gotten hee never ceased privily to require me and other lords as well spirituall as temporal! that 
he might take upon him the crowne till the prince came to the age of four and twenty, and were 
able, to governe the realme as a sufficient king, which thinge when hee saw mee somewhat sticke at, 
he then brought in instruments autenticke doctors, proctors and notaries of the law with depositions 
of divers witnesses testifying King Edward's children to be bastards, which deposition then I thought 
to be as true as now I know them to be fained. When the said depositions were before us read 

Tin: iiistuiiy <»r miKcKxncKsiiiiti'; 


and diligently explained hee stood up bare headed, saying, Well 1 my lords even as I and you 

would that my nephewes should ha\r no wrong, dm' nice nothing but i • i !_r 1 1 1 ; for these witnesses 
and sayings of famous doctors be true, for I am the only indubitable heyre to Richard Plantagenel 
duke of York, adjudged to lie the very heyre to the crowne of this realnie by authoritie of 
parliament. Which things so by learned men to us for verity declared, caused mee and others to 
take him for our lawful! and undoubted prince and sovereigne lord, and so again by my avd he of 
a, protector was made a king, hut when he was once crowned king and in full possession of the 
realme he east away his old conditions; lor when 1 myself sued to him for my part of the ear] of 
Hereford's lands, which his brother king Edward wrongfully detained from mee, and also required 
to have the office of the high constableship of England as divers of my noble ancestors before this 
time have had and in long descent continued, in this my first suit he did not onely delay nice and 
afterwards deny 2 mee hut gave nice such unkinde words as though I had never furthered him; 
all this I suffered patiently, hut- when 1 was informed of the death of the two young innocents, 
Oh Lord ! my heart inwardly grudged, insomuch that I abhorred the sighl of him ; 1 took my leave 
of the court and. returned to Brecknock, hut in my journey as 1 returned I had divers imaginations 
how to deprive this unnatural! uncle. First 1 fantasied that if I list to take upon me the crowne, 
now was the way made plain and occasion given, for I saw he was disdained of the lords temporall 
and accursed of the lords spiritual!; after divers cogitations as I rode between Worcester and Bridge- 
north, 3 I encountered the comtesse of Richmond (now wife to the lord Stanley), which is the 
very daughter and sole heyre to .lohn duke of Somerset, my grandfather's elder brother so that 
slice and her sonne the earl of Richmond bee both between me to enter into the gate of majesty 
royall and getting of the crowne ; I then began to dispute with myself whether 1 were best to take 
it upon mee by the election of the nobilitie and communaltie or to take it by power : thus standing 
in a wavering ambiguity, I considered first the office duty and paine of a. king which surely I think 
no mortall man can justly and truly observe, except hee he appointed by God as King David was, 
and further I remember that if 1 once took on mee the governance of the realme, t he daughters of 
King Edward and their allies (being both for his sake much beloved) and also for the great injurie 
done to them much pittied would never cease to bark at the one side of me ; Sembably my cousin, 
the Earl of Richmond, his avdes and kinsfolks will surely attempt either to bite or pierce mee on 
the other side, so that my life and rule should ever hang unquiet in doubt of death or deposition, 
and if the said two linages of York and Lancaster should joyne in one against mee, then were I 
surely matched. Wherefore I have clearly determined utterly to relinquish all imaginations eon- 

1 This account given by the duke of Buckingham is directly 

.dictory to that reet 
if those who have 
he bastardy of Edv 

ded bv historm 

the tr 

cording to all 

d In 


in ]h 

c by the latter, and Richard so far from claiming the 

is above asserted (according to a plan settled by himself 
and his friends) affected to refuso it, and it was not til! after 
Buckingham had threatened to place snme other person en the 
throne, that, as related by Shakspeare, lie complied and thus 
addressed the patriotic duke, and his followers. 

and sage u r ra\ e men ! 
■tune mi my back, 
ther I will'or no ; 
endure 1 In- load, 

foul faced reproach 

- Cousin of Buckingham 

Since you will buckle fi 

To bear her burden wl 

I must have patience t< 

But if black scandal o 

Attend the sequel of your imposition, 

Your mere iniorccwent shall acquit me 

From all the impure blots and stains tin rent', 

For God he knows and you may partly see 

How far I am from the desire of this." 

fi. ///. Act :s. 


- This is agreeably to Shakspeare's description of the rupture 
between these two bad men. 

Buckingham : " My lord, I claim my gift, my due by promise, 
Fur which your honour and your faith is pawned, 
The Earldom of Hereford. — 

King Richard: Stanley look to your wife. 

Buck. : I am thus bold to put your grace in mind 
Of what you promised me. 

A - . Rich. : What's o'clock 
I am not in the giving vein to-day. 

Buck. : Why then resolve me whether you will or no ? 

A'. Rich. : Thou troulilest urn, I am nut in tin- vein 

[Exit Richard. 

Buck. : Is it even so ! repays he mv deep service 
With such contempt 1 made I him king for this t 
Oh let me think on Hastings, ami be gone 
To Brecknock, while mv fearful head is on. 

It. III. Act J. Seem 2. 

Some historians also attribute the breach between him and 
Richard, to Richard's refusal to restore him a moiety of the 

Bohun estate, and it Shakspeare 1 rrect, this was the cause 

that drove him to Brecknock, and not the shock which his 
feelings received on hearing of the two pnor innocents; on tin' 
other hand it is clear that a Kill of livery was made to him of 
the lands of the late Humphrey tie Bohun and a grant of the 
constableship of England (Dugd. Bar. vol. 1, p. Hi8). Yet it 
is by no means improbable that delays were invented and 
obstacles thrown in the way of his taking possession of this pro- 
perty ; so that he was never able to avail himself of these instru- 
ments, nor perhaps was it intended he should be benefited by 
them. The first of them is dated the 13th day of July. 1483, and 
it appears bv a proclamation in Rymer's Fosdera, torn. 12, p. 
204, that he' was executed before the 23rd of October, in the 
same year. Buck hints that one cause of offence given to Richard 
bv the duke was. the right lie which he claimed the Bohun 
honours. "The Earldom oi Hereford, says the king, was the 

inheritan if Henry the Fourth, win. was 'also King of England, 

(though bv tort and usurpation), and will you, mv lord of Buck- 
ingham, claim to l,e heir of Henry tin- Fourth ? You may then 
haplv assume his spirits ami lav claim to tin- crown bv tile same 
title.'" Buck's life of R. 3. 

'■> Buckingham had possessions in Shropshire, otherwise he 
deviated from his direct road to Brecon in going to Bridge- 
north from Won ester, perhaps however, he met the countess 
of Richmond by appointment, in that county. 


cerning the obtaining of the crowne ; for as I told you the comtesse of Richmond on my return 
from the new named Icing, meeting mee prayed me first for kindred sake, secondly for the love I 
bare to my grandfather duke Humphrey, which was sworn brother to her father to move the king to 
be good to her sonne Henry earle of Richmond, and to licence him with his favour to return again 
into England, and if it were bis pleasure so to doc, shee promised her Sonne should marry one of 
king Edward's daughters at the appointment of the king without any thing demanded for the said 
espousalls but only the king's favour, which request I soon overpassed and departed. But after 
in my lodging I called to my memory more of that matter, I am bent that the earl of Richmond 
heyre to the house of Lancaster, shall take to wife the Lady Elizabeth eldest daughter to King 
Edward, by which marriage both the houses of York ami Lancaster may be united in one.' 1 
This was precisely what the bishop was driving at, all this time, though at first he was cautious 
of discovering his intentions ; after several further consultations therefore, it was determined that 
the countess of Richmond should be made acquainted with their design, of raising her son to the 
throne which was principally effected by the agency of Reginald de Bray, one of her domestics, 
and doctor Lewis a physician who attended her as well as the queen dowager, and whose visits for 
that reason passed without suspicion. 


" Morton having accomplished this important point, took his leave of Buckingham, and much 
against his grace's inclination, found the means of escaping into Flanders, where he justly conceived 
his presence would be more serviceable to the cause than his stay in England. Now, it was that 
the report of the young princes having been murdered in the tower was industriously jmblished and 
circulated by the agents and partizans of Buckingham, though the rumour had been propagated 
(as has been just seen) before he quitted the court, of such a foul transaction having happened. 
The friends of Richard say this falsehood was spread abroad merely to answer the purposes of the 
faction, who could have no pretence of setting Richmond upon the throne while either of the 
children of Edward was living, and therefore, to answer the double purpose of calumniating the 
present king, and paving the w r ay for his successor, they charged him with the atrocious crime of 
having procured the assassination of his nephews ; certain it is, that we have nothing like decisive 
evidence of the fact either way. The Croyland continuator gives a kind of hint, that some foul 
play befell them, though he by no means asserts it positively, 2 ' vulgatum est regis Edwardi 
pueros quo genere interitus ignoratur, decessisse in fata.' Polydore Virgil (though no great degree 
of credit is attached to his authority as an historian) mentions another report, that the princes 
had escaped and were alive in foreign parts ' In vulgus fama valuit, filios Edwardi Regis aliqua 
terrarum parte migrasse atque ita superstites esse.' Others again assert that they were actually 
stifled between two feather beds, by Tyrrel, Dighton and Forest, (whom Speed calls 'big broad 
square knaves ') and rest their evidence on a supposed confession of Sir James Tyrrel, who was 
said to have been also a principal in the business. Tyrrel was certainly a favourite with Richard, 
who entrusted him with several offices of honour and emolument : he was made steward of the 
lordships of Llandovery, Llantrissent, Newport and Gwentllwg, and governor of Glamorganshire. 


" As to his confession we can scarcely believe it possible that he made it during the life of his patron, 
and if he did it afterwards, it is very extraordinary, as Carte pertinently observes, that Henry should 
not only have pardoned, but even patronized a self convicted murderer ; for he made him governor of 
Guisnes and sent him ambassador to the Emperor Maximilian. In the declaration of Perkin Warbeck, 
he is particularly noticed as being in the confidence of Henry, and though he was afterwards executed 
upon suspicion of high treason, as implicated in the affair of the Earl of Suffolk, yet as Mr. Carte 
says, this did not happen until after an interval of ten years, and his son was almost immediately 
restored in blood by a special act of parliament, passed upon the requisition of Henry. Dighton is 
also said to have confessed a participation in the guilt, yet it does not appear that he was either 
punished or prosecuted : these are circumstances which plainly show that Henry, though he 
countenanced these reports unfavourable to the memory of his predecessor, was afraid to institute 
such a strict inquiry as must have brought truth to light ; indeed we have every reason to believe 
that he himself did not give credit to this tale. That Richard has much to answer for there can 
be no doubt, and the time will assuredly come, when lie will be truly judged at the great tribunal 
of eternity, and rewarded according to his work ; until that awful and solemn day, let no man 
decidedly condemn him as the perpetrator of this iniquitous and foul transaction. Carte closes 

1 All the substance and much of the quaintness of the conversation is here preserved ; but the whole of it as related by the 
clironiclers is tedious. - Gale's Hist. Angl, Scrip, v. 1, p. 5G8. 


his arguments with a comparative eulogium on the character of Richard, and an assertion of his 
belief, that Perkin Warbeck was the real (hike of York. To this opinion we beg leave to add a 
firm, though perhaps insignificant assent ; there are so many circumstances in support of it, exclusive 
of those mentioned in Walpole's Historic Doubts, that we are astonished the world should have been 
so generally misled upon this question. 

"The evidence of Sir Robert Clifford who was sent- over to the duchess of Burgundy, and who 
wrote hack that he was satisfied that the person afterwards called Perkin Warbeck was" the duke 
of York, as he was of liis existence, that he knew him by private marks on his person, and from 
anecdotes related by him of circumstances which passed in the English court during his infancy, 
the behaviour of Henry and his partisans, who first spread a report (a repent which in spite of its 
absurdity, has been countenanced and propagated by some of our ablest and latest historians) that 
the duchess of Burgundy had informed him of these private events, — of events which passed after 
she liml quitted England ! — though we learn that when Perkin Warbeck was taken prisoner, the king 
and his advisers made the young man declare that he was schooled and taught English by a John 
Walter, mayor of Cork; 1 tile conduct of the victor who treated him as a. cat does a captive 
mouse, parading him up and down twice or thrice through the streets of London, while he peeped 
at him through a window, at the same time that he never ventured a personal interview with him, 
or dared to confront him with his mother or sister, both then living and at court, all these and 
many other circumstances which could be mentioned, are strong proofs in confirmation of Carte's 
judgment. The finding of human bones in 1673 in the Tower of London, in that place where neither 
Henry the Seventh (who was so anxious at one time to discover them, nor those who were said 
to have deposited them were successful in their search, though this circumstance hastily considered 
established the report of Hie murder), proves too much, unless it be admitted, as Hume very oddly 
insinuates, that, in the Tower no bins but those who are nearly related to the crown can be exposed 
to a violent death ' 


"To return to the conspiracy of Buckingham. Morton having departed to confer with Richmond 
on the continent, and planned the means of a descent on England, the duke exerted all his energy 
to raise an insurrection at home, and by the assistance of Reginald Bray had so far succeeded that 
a day was actually fixed for a general rising in several of the English counties. Richard was too 
vigilant to be ignorant of what was going on ; he saw a conspiracy was formed against him, and 
he spared no pains to make himself acquainted with the persons of the conspirators in order to divide 
and counteract their force. It was immediately obvious that Buckingham was at the head of it. and 
he, too late, lamented the extensive powers he had intrusted to him in the Marches, but the escape 
of Morton, whose deep laid policy he dreaded, afforded him still more uneasiness. 

Morton with Richmond touches me mure near. 

Than Buckingham and his rash levied numbers. —Rich. 3rd. 

"The duke was still at Brecknock, and as no overt act of treason, or at least of violence had 
been yet committed, the king in the most pressing manner invited his return to court, and to 
intreaties, added the warmest expressions of regard; finding he could not entrap him by fair means 
he in peremptory terms commanded his attendance, which were equally disregarded. In the mean- 
time spies were everywhere set to watch his motions. Directions were sent to Sir Thomas Yaughan, 
son of the late Sir Roger Yaughan of Tretower (whose influence in the neighbourhood was considerable), 
to raise the country and attack his castle, the moment he stirred from Brecknock, holding out as an 
allurement, the riches it contained. Sir Thomas, with the assistance of his bro hers and relations, 
executed his commission with great spirit, ami kept a strict look out in the interior of the country, 
while Sir Humphrey Stafford was equally alert in destroying the bridges and occupying the passes on 
the side of England. The duke however having mustered his dependents, and published a flaming 
declaration against Richard, proceeded with a numerous but disaffected and ill appointed army to join 
his Western friends at Salisbury, taking the route of Gloucester; but having reached the banks of 
the Severn, a most tremendous Hood had rendered the river impassable and laid a fatal embargo 
upon his further progress. Thus delayed, his troops became dissatisfied for want of pay and the 
conveniences of living, and deserted in such numbers that he was left nearly alone. The Croyland 

1 Lord Verulam in his History of Henry the Seventh, speaking cousins bv names and surnames, and fi i what places he 

of the confession of Perkin Warbeck, observes " he was dili- travelled up and down, sn there was little or nothing to purpose 

gently examined, and after his confession taken, an extract was concerning bis designs, or any practices that had been held with 

made of such parts of them as were thought fit to h< dimilued. which him nor tin duchess ot Burqundu herself (that all the world did 

was printed and dispersed abroad ; wherein the king did himself take I wledge of as the person that had put life and being 

no right: for as there was a laboured tale of particulars of into the whole business) so much ax named or pointed at." 
l'erkin's father, mother, grandsire, grandmother, uncles aral 


continuator, and upon his authority Carte, say, that he now retired with a few confidential friends 
to the house of Sir Walter Devereux, lord Ferrers, at Weobley ; hut how is this to he reconciled 
to the steady adherence of that nobleman to the cause of Richard, under whose banners he fought 
and fell in the battle of Bosworth ? Can it be supposed for a moment that the duke could have 
retired for protection to that very house which his grandfather had plundered by royal permission 
in the reign of Henry the Sixth, in consequence of his attachment to the house of York ? The 
above historians however assert this, and add that the Bishop of Ely was of the party, yet for 
the reasons already given, as well as the general concurrence of historians, we conceive there can be no 
doubt that the fact was otherwise, and that his last retreat was to the house of one Bannister, who 
had formerly been his servant and now resided in the neighbourhood of Shrewsbury. Here he 
thought he might remain secure till he could either join his English friends, or make his escape to 
Richmond on the continent ; but a royal proclamation soon shook the fidelity of his host, whose 
avarice could not withstand the temptation of a thousand pounds offered by Richard for the appre- 
hension of Buckingham. To secure, as he hoped, the money, he betrayed his master; betrayed that 
master whose former kindness had supported him and enriched his family. For this base action he 
received his deserts, though he failed of his reward ; when he applied to Richard, he refused to pay 
him, telling him that he who could be unfaithful to so good a master, would be a traitor to his king 
if an opportunity offered. 1 Stowe adds, that soon after this event, his eldest son became insane 
and died in a pigstye, his daughter was stricken with a leprosy, his second son lost the use of his 
limbs, his youngest son was drowned in a puddle, and Humphrey the father was convicted in his 
old age of murder, and only saved by his being a literate person and claiming the benefit of clergy. 
At what age these sons died is not mentioned, but they or one of them probably left descendants, 
who continued in Brecknock in tolerable repute till the middle of the eighteenth century ; for in the 
Cappel y cochiaid, in the Priory Church there is a tombstone to the memory of Thomas Bannister, 
who died in 1737, and who is said to have married Rebecca, daughter of John Crusoe, apothecary 
and grand -daughter of Dr. John Crusoe, theretofore chancellor of St. David's. 


"The Duke having been arrested by John Mytton, high sheriff for the county of Salop (A.D. 1483), 
was first conveyed to Shrewsbury, and from thence under a strong guard to Salisbury, where the king 
then was ; he solicited an interview with his majesty, with an intention as it is said of stabbing 
him, but being refused, lie was immediately taken out to the market place, and there executed 
without a trial. His titles were attainted and his estates confiscated. Thus fell the once powerful 
and ambitious Buckingham, and if the proud Great can be taught any lesson, they may learn from 
this upon how weak and tottering a foundation their much prized grandeur stands. 

Aim. .st he fcoueh'd the highest point of greatness ! 
And from tliat full meridian of glory, 
He hasted t.. his setting ; And he fell 
Like some bright exhalation in the evening, 
And no man saw him more ! 

" He left by his wife Catherine, daughter of Richard Widville earl of Rivers, three sons and two 
daughters, Edward who afterwards was restored to his honours, Henry created earl of Wiltshire, and 
Humphrey who died young ; Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, married Robert Radcliffe earl of Sussex, 
and Anne who married first Sir Walter Herbert, and secondly George earl of Huntingdon. Sir James 
Tyrrel was appointed a commissioner for his forfeited estates in Wales, and Sir Ralph Ashton, vice- 
constable, with a power to try either by the examination of witnesses or otherwise, to pass sentence, 
and to execute on the spot without it<}isc, form of trial or appeal, all persons suspected and guilty of 
high treason or who were concerned in this insurrection : allowing him the full exercise of his 
discretion whenever he chose to act under this authority, and only requiring him on such occasions 
to take with him a secretary to make minutes of his proceedings. 2 


"Soon after the establishment of Henry the Seventh upon the throne (A.D. 1185), Edward the 

1 This is the account of the treatment Bannister received sufficient to consign his memory to perpetual infamy : unprece- 
from Richard, according t<> most liistorians. and Buck among dented as are the words, and unlimited as is the power intrusted 
others ; but in .i note to the life of Richard, by tins latter author, by this document, its authenticity is unquestionable. Buck, to 
it is said that Ralph (nut Humphrey) Bannister who betrayed conceal in part the iniquity of his hero in granting powers so 
thi duke, was rewarded for this service bj a grant oi the manor extraordinary, says, the vice-constable was impowered to pro- 
of Ealding in Kent, part of his unfortunate master's property, ceed against the rebels, " omni strepitu et futura judicii appel- 
which grant is in part recited in this note, and the leader for its latione quacunque remota."- The commission as given by Rymer 
authenticity referred to K. R's. journ. in the Faedcra, vol. 12, p. 205 has, " sine strepitu et figura judicii 

2 If there were no other evidences remaining of Richard's appellatione quacunque remota." 
tyranny than this bloody inquisitorial commission, it would be 



oldest son of the late Duke of Buckingham was restored to blood, his titles and estates, and upon 
the death of Edward Stanley earl of Derby in 1504, who in the first year of this king was created, 
or rather confirmed constable of England for life, the duke was appointed to this office, though the 
grant does not appear in the Fcedera, as all those of his predecessors do, yet there can be no doubt 
but that he held this office in the latter end of Henry the Seventh and in the beginning of Henry the 
Eighth's reign; for Sir Ilobert Cotton in a paper in Hearne's ('urimis Discourses, tells us, that over 
his castle gate at Thonihury was the following inscription, 'This gate was begun 1511, and Anno 
regis Henrici octavi '2. by me Edward duke of Buckingham, earle of Hereford. Stafford and North- 
ampton, high constable of England/ This office however expired with him, for after his death no 
person was ever appointed to it, and it is now scarcely known but to antiquarians. 

"Though the confiscations of his father's property were immense and of course a very tempting bait 
to the avaricious Henry, yet his services had been so beneficial to this monarch's cause, and indeed, 
inasmuch as they had principally and primarily produced his elevation, gratitude prompted the restora- 
tion of everything to the son. In the last year of this reign he obtained a grant from the crown of 
the castle and ville of Bronllys, the manors and lordships of Bronllys, Cantreff selyff, Penkelley and 
Alexanderstone, with the third part of the barony of Penkelley, and the advowsons of all the churches 
belonging thereto. He confirmed by charter the franchises of the borough of Brecknock and con- 
siderably improved the castle, though his principal residence was at Thonihury in Cloucestershire. 
where by license from King Henry the Seventh, he had imparked one thousand acres of land, and 
began to build a stately edifice, which the shortness of his life prevented him from finishing. The 
distinguishing features of Edward duke of Buckingham were family pride and ostentation ; he felt 
himself a duke, and indulged a high sense of rank and of his own consequence. 

Ho deem'd plebeians, with patrician blood 
Ci im] tared, tho creatures of a lower species ; 
Mere menial hands by nature meant to servo him. 


"It is said he was weak enough to have confidence in judicial astrology and divination. Upon 
all occasions of public show, the utmost magnificence of expence was exhibited in his dress, and he 
was studious of appearing unrivalled in elegance. Upon the celebration of Prince Arthur's nuptials 
with the ladv Catherine of Spain, he appeared at Court in a robe of needlework upon cloth of tissue, 
and trimmed with sable, valued at the enormous sum of fifteen hundred pounds, and in honour of 
Prince Henry's accession to the throne, he rode to the 'lower in a gown of goldsmith's work, 'a 
thing (says Stowe) of great riches;' hut alas! (his high patrician pride soon undid him, and 
brought him to the grave in early life, or at least in the prime of manhood, and the plebeian 
Wolsey triumphed over the noble Buckingham: some unguarded expressions uttered by the duke 
at first excited the cardinal's disgust, and a, trivial circumstance converted the quarrel into deadly 
animosity. It seems that the duke having held the bason to the king, while he was washing his 
hands, the cardinal came and dipped his hands also in the water; this, •though a trifle light as 
air," so offended the high spirit of Buckingham, that in contempt he threw the whole contents into 
his eminency's shoes. The equally haughty prelate retired in a rage, vowing 'that he would shortly 
sit upon his skirts ' ; to make a jest of this threat, his grace appeared the next day in public 
without any skirts to his coat, jocularly observing that he did it by way of precaution. 


"Trifling as all this may seem, it sealed the duke's destruction: so dangerous are ill timed jokes, 
' saepius hse nugse in seria ducunt.' This nobleman being descended in the female line from Thomas 
of Woodstock, conceived himself by birth to be nearly allied to royalty. He is said to have declared 
his intention of claiming the crown, if the king died without issue, and in that case his resolution 
to he revenged upon Wolsey for his insolence ; being also, as before observed, infected with the 
absurd notions of magic and judicial astrology, he was weak enough to he led away by one Hopkins 
a monk of Henton. who pretended to inspiration, and flattered him with the hope of one day 
ascending the throne of England. The pride of family and perhaps the fond idea of seeing these 
wild predictions realized, led him into certain indiscretions, which being reported to Wolsey. were 
thought sufficient ground"; for an impeachment : the Cardinal therefore having upon various pretences 
removed his friends out of the way, and secured the mercenary evidence of a discarded servant of 
the name of Knevett, boldly accused the duke of high treason. The King extremely jealous of all 
who had any pretensions to the crown, and fully aware of the ambitious character of Buckingham, 
was easily induced to credit the assertion, nor could the most solemn asservations of innocence avail 
him ; for so deeply was the plot laid, that he was tried by his peers, found guilty, and condemned 


(A.D. 1521). The Duke of Norfolk, with a flood of tears, pronounced the fatal order for execution, 
to which the noble prisoner submitted with a manly resolution, disdaining to sue for mercy, or ask 
a life of which he conceived they were unjustly about to deprive him ; though he is said to have 
hinted that a free unsolicited pardon, if the king would grant it, would not be unacceptable. 
Shakespeare makes him thus pathetically address the audience at his execution : 

When I came hither I was lord high constable 
And Duke of Buckingham ; — now poor Edward Bohun.^ 
Yet I am better than ray base accusers. 
Who never knew- what truth meant : I now seal it ; 
My noble father Henry duke of Buckingham 
Who first raised head against ursurping Richard. 
Fhii^ for succour to his servant Bannister, 
Being distress'd, was by that wretch betray'd, 
And withoul trial fell : 'God's peace be with him ! 
Henry the Seventh succeeding, truly pitying 
My father's loss, like a most royal prince 
Restoi'd me to my honours, and out of ruin 
Made ins- name once more noble. Now his son 
Henry the Eighth, life, honour, name and all. 
That made me happy, at one stroke has taken 
For ever from the world. I had my trial, 
And must needs say a noble one. — which makes me 
A little happier than my wTetched father. 
Yet thus far we are in one fortune ; both 

Fell by our servants, by those men we loved most. 

A most unnatural and faithless service ! 

Heaven has an end in all : yet you that hear me, 

This from a dying man receive for certain : 

Where you are liberal in loves and counsels 

Be sure you be not loose ; those you make friends 

And give your hearts to, when they once perceive 

The least rub in your fortunes, fall away 

Like water from you, — never found again 

But where they mean to sink you. All good people 

Pray for me. 1 must leave you — the last hour 

Of my long weary life is come upon me. 

Farewell ! and when you would say something sad. 

Speak how I fell. I have done ; and God forgive me. 

" When the Emperor Maximilian heard of this execution he severely remarked, ' that a butcher's dog had 
ran down the finest buck in England,' alluding to Wolsey being the son of a butcher ; but if we take 
Dr. Henry's character of this duke, he was a desperate find dangerous man, who had formed the 
most pernicious schemes, and was capable of the most atrocious actions, and neither the king or the 
cardinal could be blamed for bringing him to trial, and permitting the sentence to be executed. 

"The dukedom of Buckingham now became extinct. He left by his wife Alianor, daughter of 
Henry Percy earl of Northumberland, one son and three daughters ; Elizabeth the eldest married 
Thomas Howard duke of Norfolk. Catherine married Ralph Neville earl of Westmoreland, and Mary 
married George Neville lord Abergavenny, Henry (his son) was afterwards by an act of parliament 
restored in blood, and to the barony of Stafford only. Upon the death of Henry (the fifth baron of 
that name) without issue, the title of baron and baroness of Stafford was conferred in the reign of 
Charles the Second, on Sir William Howard knight of the Bath, and Mary Stafford, his wife, only 
sister of the last peer of that name, and the heirs male of their bodies, but they likewise, dying 
without children, the title became extinct. The last duke of Buckingham and lord of Brecknock, 
of whose life we have given the fullest account we have been able to collect, was executed May 17, 
1521, and was buried at the church of Austin Friars in London. 2 


"The great lordship of Brecknock with the borough, castles, manors, and dependencies now 
merged in the crown, but the burgesses of Brecknock were permitted to retain their ancient 
franchises, upon payment of their accustomed fee farm rent of one hundred and twenty pounds a 
year. A list of the manors in Herefordshire dependent on the castle of Brecon, and owing suit and 
service to the court of Baili-glas formerly held there, will be seen in the appendix No. XI. A further 
and more particular survey, made in the thirteenth of Henry the Eighth, containing the whole of 
the possessions of the lords of the castle and manor of Brecon will appear in another part of this 

1 Stephenson in one of his notes observes that Shakespeare was led into the mistake of the then family name of the duke of 
Buckingham, by Holinshed. Toilet however says the duke affected to take the name, as his ancestors did the arms, of 
Bohun, and we are inclined to think he is correct. 

- The pedigree of this nobleman and Ins predecessors, lords of Brecon, will be seen in the appendix, No. X. 


work. From this document it appears that the manorial rights and lands held by the last Duke 

of Buckingham, in this county and neighbour] I were of the annual value of E806 : 1 5 : n l. 

to which every third year was added an increased rent of £506 I. "is. Id. We are indebted to Sir 
Charles Morgan, hart., for permission to copy tins valuable MS. winch has been preserved in the 
evidence room at Tredegar." 


King Henry VIII. ascended the throne 1509. Descended from Owen Tudor, a Welsh gentleman, 
and having thus in his veins Celtic blood, he did more than any previous monarch to promote the 
welfare of his ancestral country. Be united Wales to England, and destroyed the power of the 
Lords Marchers; divided South Wales into counties, and established a form of justice which survived 
into the I'.ith century. He fostered the education of the people, establishing at Brecon that Collegiate 
establishment which has proved of such advantage to the Principality. In much of this he was 
ably advised by Sir John Price of the Priory, Brecon, a member of the Council of the Court of 
Marchers, established in the reign of King Edward IV. to curtail the power of the Lords Marchers. 
King Henry VIII., undoubtedly a great statesman, saw the advantages which would accrue from 
destroying a power which touched upon the Royal prerogative, and was a chief cause of the lawless- 
ness then existing in Wales. 


After the execution of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, the Lordships of the Marches had for 
the most part fallen to the Crown. The time seemed appropriate for reforming laws and justice in 
Wales : " Albeit the principalitie of Wales hath been incorporated under the imperial crown, wherefore 
the Kinges nioost Roiall Majestic of mere droite is verie Hedde King Lord and Ruler, yet not- 
withstanding because that in the same contrey dyvers lawes be farre discrepant from the lawes of 
this realme, and also because that the people of the same dominion do daily use a speche nothing 
like, ne consonaunf to the natural mother tonge used within this realme, some ignorant people have 
made distinccion between the Kinges subjects of this realme and his subjects of the said principalitie 
of Wales whereby great diseorde has growen between the said subjects. His Highnes therefore hath 
enacted that his said countrey of Wales shall be united to his realme of Englande." 


The English laws of inheritance were extended to Wales. The Act then proceeds — " And foras- 
moche as there be dyvers lordshippes marchers within the said countrey of Wales, lieng between the 

shires of Englande and the shires of the said countrey of Wales and forasmoche as many of 

the said lordshippes marchers be now in possession of our soveraigne Lorde the Kinge and the 
smallest nombre of them in the possession of other lordes ; be it enacted that dyvers of the said 
lordshippes marchers shall be united to the shires of Wales, and that all the residue of the said 
lordshippes marchers shall be divided into eertayne p'ticular counties or shires, that is to say the 
countie or shire of Monimouth, the count ie or shire of Brekenoke, the countie of shire of Radnor, 
the countie or shire of Montgomerie, the countie or shire of Denbigh." 

The Act then defines the county of Monmouth, in which the King's subjects are to be obedient 
to the Lord Chancellor of England, 'it then proceeds :— " The lordshipps townes parishes commotes 
and cant redes of Brekenoke, Crickhowell, Tretowre, Pencelly, Englisshe Talgarth, Welshe Talgarth, 
Dynas, The Haye, Glynebogh [Glasbury], Broynlles, Cantercelly, Lando, Blayn Uynby, Estrodewe 

[Cwmdu], Buelthe, and Langors shall be accepted as members of the said countie or shire of 

Brekenok ; and the town of Brekenok shall be reputed hede and shere towne of the said countie 
or shere of Brekenock.'' 

The other counties are then dealt with in a similar way ; and it is then enacted that the 
business of courts shall be transacted in English, and concludes—" For all Parliamentes to be holden 

for this realme one Knight shal be chosen for every of the shires of Brekenoke and for every 

other shire within the said countrey of Wales." 

Thus Brecknock became a county. Its boundaries were not fixed with regard to local govern- 
ment, still less to modern requirements, but they represent a mass of ancient manors more or less 
connected with each other from very early times. 


A few years later (1542), a further enactment settled by commission the boundaries of hundreds, 
permitted the stewards of manors to hold court leets, appointed justices of the " peaxe," also " oone 
custos rotulorum in every of the twelve shyres." " Twoo of the justices at the least were to keepe 
theyre sessions foure times in the yere," and at other times upon urgent causes. 


Up to the time of the Reformation there were no schools in Wales. Whatever education 
the Welsh received they must have obtained within the walls of the monasteries at the hands of 
the monks. With the Tudor dynasty a change for the better took place, and the University of 
Oxford was entered by many natives of the Principality. Sir John Price of the Priory, of whose 
exertions on behalf of his country notice has already been taken, was educated there, but in Wales 
itself there were no schools. 


The College of Christ of Brecknock was founded by Henry VIII. by Royal Charter, bearing 
date January 19, in the 33rd year of his reign (1542). It states that his Majesty's subjects in the 
southern parts of Wales were unable by reason of their poverty to educate their sons, and by reason 
of their ignorance of the English language were unable to understand the laws which they were 
bound to obey, and that Christ College was intended to comprise a grammar school and divinity 
lectureship for providing instruction in letters and divinity. His Majesty then established a grammar 
school and provided gratuitous instruction. And by his Charter the priory of the Preaching Friars 
at Brecknock, with all property belonging to it at its dissolution, were given by his Majesty to the 
Bishop of St. David's, with power to transfer the officers of the existing college at Abergwili to 
the College of Christ at Brecon, to which the property of the College at Abergwili was also granted. 
After the Charter, the College at Abergwili was duly transferred to Brecknock, at which town it has 
carried on the work of education until the present time. But it will be more convenient to deal 
with the history of this important foundation when we come to the parochial history of the 


About this period we have translations of works into Welsh. Sir John Price, LL.D., was 
the son of Rhys ap Gwilym Gwyn, a gentleman of high standing in Brecknock. Having taken his 
degree at Oxford, he was called to the Bar, and soon attracted the notice of the King. He married 
Joan, niece of Morgan Williams of Whitchurch, an ancestor of Oliver Cromwell. At the dissolution 
of the monasteries he was appointed a Commissioner for their suppression, the field of his labour 
being the county of Brecknock. tie translated into Welsh the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Command- 
ments, and the Creed, and published them in 15411, this, so far as is known, being the first book 
printed in the Welsh language. 


The Valor Ecclesiasticus of King Henry VIII. is a survey and estimate of the whole ecclesias- 
tical property in England and Wales in the state in which it stood on the eve of the Reformation — 
the accumulation of many centuries which had preceded since first the British Church was endowed. 
During a long series of years the usurpations of the Church of Rome on the ancient freedom and 
property of the British Church had been advancing till they had reached a height which may justly 
be called enormous. Some small contribution might not unreasonably be demanded from every part 
of Christendom by that power which was supposed to be ever consulting the common benefit of 
Christianity, and which did actually administer the affairs <_!' the great Christian confederacy, but 
the contributions had grown excessive, and there was much vexation in consequence of the demands. 
Resistance to their encroachments had been made from time to time by the Sovereign and prelates. 
At length the cord was cut which bound the British Church to that of Rome, and in the time of 
Henry VIII. the Church of Rome was deprived of the whole revenue which she had been accustomed 
to derive from England. Two Acts were passed forbidding the payment of annates to Rome (23 
Henry VIII. and 25 Henry VIII. ), by which the clergy of England were relieved of a heavy burden ; 
but it was not in the contemplation of the Court to give to the Church what it had wrested from 
the Pope without requiring something in return. The demand at last assumed the form that the 
Church should render to the King the first fruits of all benefices and dignitaries, and the tenth of 
their annual revenues. It was to carry into effect this Act that the Valor was formed. First fruits 
are the revenues of one entire year as they stood at the date of the assessment. Tenths, the tenth 
part of the clear annual value as then ascertained and recorded in " the King's books." 


Since the valuation (see Taxatio) in the time of Edward I. a great change had taken place in 
value estimated in money. The piety of the English nation had provided many churches ; from the 
wealthiest dignitary to the most poorly endowed chantrey, all were brought under the new Act. 
The principal use now (1900) to be made of the Valor is determining the sums payable as first fruits 
and tenths which are still chargeable. These payments are no longer paid to the Crown. Queen 
Anne, as an act of royal bounty to the Church, in the second year of her reign, gave up this source 



of revenue to trustees, who were empowered to administer it for the benefit of the poorer clergy. 
Tlie Valor also shows what churches air of ancient foundation. Amongsl chapels, it shows which 
have existed before the Reformation, for it i~ laid none escaped which had before tin- Reforma 
tion any fixed endowment : whence it follows that any chapel nol in the Valor is either of more 
recent foundation or was in the reign of King Henry Ylil. withoul endowment. The following 
extracts are taken from the Valor Ecclesiasiicm in the Public Records publications in the British 
Museum : — 


if Parish as 






Llanfaes . . 



Marcher . . 



( 'archprenguy 




Llansaiiit Fri 
Llvwel .. 
Merthyr Cvn< 

I.l.liai'M. irh 




PjCs. 1 
:i 11 

Crickhowell Etectoria . 

Uanfihangel Talyllyn 



Na f Modern 



( 'athedine 

102s. 11 

Third Part of Brecon. 


Cwmdu . . 

9 13 1 

Deanery of Buixth. 





Llanfiltan^el feclian . . 

(la 17 






Bronlles .. 


4 15 


Llaneley . . 


4 5 


Llangenedir and 




13 4 




lyilyn .. 

4 IS 


Llangammarch, | >reb. 

,, Vicarage 


Llanavon Vaure 

Janlwdr in the Hundred 

of Crickhowell 
Llanafan Fawr 

7 n 15 

L'7 a a 

S 14 .". 

7 ii 7 

16 17 'I 

Deanery of Hay. 

Hay Vicar 

In this return. Ystradfellte is not mentioned, hut was probably included in Defynock, of which it was 
deemed a chapelry. Llandefailog tregraig is similarly a chapel of Llanfillo. Llandeilo'r fan and Llanfihangel 
riant bran were then unseparated from Dtjt'ynoek. Trallong unmentioned as a perpetual curacy: Rattle was 
a, hamlet of St. John. Llanywern was then a chapelry. In Builth, Llanfechan was perhaps considered a 
chapelry to Llanafan fawr. and the same may apply to Alltmawr. Gwenddwr and Crickadarn were curacies 
of Llandefalle. These explanations will perhaps account for all the apparent omissions. How Llanbedr 
came to he included in the deanery of Builth is difficult of solution. Since the Taxatio of Edward I.. 
Crickhowell has been made a parish, and the curious division of its emoluments into three portions will he 
found explained under Crickhowell. 

Upon the union of Wales with England, the interests and political events of both countries 
became so amalgamated, that the history of one, is, generally speaking, the history of the other. 
Among the other lordships marchers, the little Imperium in imperio of Breconshire ceased, and the 
lord of Brecon had from thence forward no greater authority than any other lord of a manor in 
England. The first steward of this lordship after it vested in the crown, was Henry earl of Worcester, 
who was appointed to that office for life, soon after the duke's execution by King Henry the Eighth. 


In 1551, William Salesbury, son of Foulk Salesbury, Esq., of Llanwrst, Denbighshire, published 
the Epistles and Gospels in Welsh, followed in 15G7 by his translation of the New Testament into 
Welsh. In this he was assisted by Richard Davies, Bishop of St. David's; Dr. William Morgan 
(subsequently Bishop of St. Asaph, and who was in 1561 translated to the see of St. David's), and by 
Thomas Huet, rector of Cefn Llys and Disserth, Radnor, and precentor of St. David's from 1562 to 
1588, in whieh latter year the translation of the Bible was completed. Huet built Tymawr in the 


hamlet of Llysdinam, Brecknockshire, where he died in the year 1591, and lies buried in the church- 
yard of Liana van. 

John Penry was born in Brecknockshire in 1559. He was the son of Meredith Penry of Cefn 
Brith, Llangammarch, the surname being originally Ap Henry. John matriculated at Peterhouse, 
Cambridge, 3rd December, 1580. At this time he professed Roman Catholic, opinions, but soon 
adopted the Puritan doctrines. In 1583 he graduated B.A., and subsequently became a commoner of 
St. Alban's Hall, Oxford, where he took the M.A. degree 1586. His principles did not allow him 
to take holy orders ; none the less he practised both at Cambridge and Oxford. 

He was deeply impressed with the spiritual destitution of his native county, where lie preached 
generally in the open air with rousing energy. In 1586 he wrote an address to the Queen and 
Parliament on behalf of the country of Wales that some order may be taken for the preaching of 
the Gospel among the people. In it he drew a forcible picture of the ignorance of his fellow country- 
men, of their belief in fairies and magic, their adherence to Roman Catholic opinions, and the silence 
and misconduct of the clergy. He urged the necessity of a Welsh translation of the Old Testament. 
This address was published at Oxford, and in a shortened form presented as a petition to Parliament. 
The Archbishop of Canterbury was not inclined to overlook an attack on the Church, so he issued 
his warrant calling in the book and ordering the author's arrest. Five hundred copies of the treatise 
were seized, Penry 's opinions were pronounced heretical, and on his refusal to recant, he was sent to 
prison for twelve days. 

penry's printing press. 

In April, 1587, he married Eleanor Godley, of Northampton. In Michaelmas, 1588, Penry 
purchased a printing press, which he deposited secretly at the house of Mr. Crane, at East Moulsey. 
Within three weeks, the first of the Martin Mar Prelate tracts were published. Then followed " An 
Exhortation to the Governours and People of Wales to labour earnestly to have the preaching of 
the Gospel planted among them," and other works of a polemical nature. Mr. Crane, from whose 
house these tracts emanated, having shown signs of alarm, the press was removed to the mansion of 
Sir Richard Knightley, a puritan squire of Northamptonshire. Penry was obliged to live with great 
secrecy, and in 1589 the press was seized by the authorities. On 29th January of the same year 
his house at Northampton was searched, his papers removed, and the Mayor was directed to 
apprehend Penry as a traitor, but before this could be carried out he fled to Scotland, where he was 
well received. In 1592, the controversy having subsided, Penry left Edinburgh with the intention of 
renewing his evangelising efforts in Wales. He, however, went to London, where for some time he 
was not molested, but on 21st May, 159.'!, he was put on his trial on a charge of having, while at 
Edinburgh, feloniously written certain words with intent to excite rebellion and insurrection in 
England. Penry was found guilty of treason, and sentenced to death ; a week later, May 29, at 
five in the afternoon, he was hanged at St. Thomas a Watering, Surrey. 

By Welsh historians, Penry is reckoned the pioneer of Welsh Nonconformity. He was a 
religious enthusiast, believing himself to be an instrument of God for the reformation of the Church 
and for sowing the seed of the Gospel amongst the mountains of Wales. In his writings he compared 
himself to Jeremiah and to Paul. It is not from such that mankind can expect prudence, but a 
modern judgment would probably be that, like the Apostles, he had done nothing worthy of death 
or of bonds. 


In the 5th year of Elizabeth, 1562 — 3, the Bible was ordered (chap. 28), to be translated into 
Welsh — " Whereas the Queen's most excellent Majesty did in the first year of her reign set forth a 
book of Common Prayer in the English tongue, which tongue is not understanded of the most of 
Her Majesty's loving subjects within her country of Wales, who therefore are utterly destitute of 
God's Holy Word, and remain in more darkness than the}' were in the time of Papistry, be it enacted 
that the Bishop of Hereford, St. David's, Asaph, Bangor, and Llandaf, shall take order that the 
whole Bible be duly translated into the Welsh tongue " 


In 1571, Dr. Hugh Price, of Brecon, obtained the Queen's leave to erect Jesus College, Oxford, 

and to endow it with lands and tenements to the annual value of £60. The expense of building 

amounted in his lifetime to about £1,500 and £300 was left in the hands of Sir E. Thelwall towards 
the completion of the work. 


" During the reign of Elizabeth, through the interest of Mrs. Blanche Parry, chief gentlewoman 
of her majesty's privy chamber (of whom we shall have occasion to say more, when we come to 
spieak of the branch of the Parry family settled in Breconshire), Harry Vaughan of Moccas was 


II 1 .) 

appointed her majesty's lieutenant for Brecon and steward of her castle and the lordships of Brecon 
and Dinas. This' gentleman was of the Porthaml branch of the Vaughans, being a son of Watkin 
Vaughan of Tregunter, bv .loan Parry, a daughter of Miles ap Hani or Parry of Poston in Here- 
fordshire, the eldest brother of .Mrs.' Blanche Parry. Soon after the death of Elizabeth an insur- 
rection of a very serious nature appears to have been projected, and in part executed in the county 
of Brecknock; though we have not Keen able to trace the cause of the dispute, nor is the event 
mentioned by any historian. Probably it arose from a. desire of resisting the payments of the duct 
rents, the strict levy of eymorth, the benevolence of the Welshmen, or else from some oppressive acts 
committed by those who ' were appointed to collect these dues. An old Welsh song in the hand 
writing of one Thomas Powel, a prisoner in the county gaol of Brecknock in the year 1680, alone 
preserves the memory of this occurrence. 

"It was written in Welsh, but we give the English translation only: — 

Thev i-i down twetve hundred in number, 

Now hear mo with attention, 
All ye magistrates of Breconshire, 
While with pleasure 1 praise gent] 
Two much esteem'd 'squires, 

Sprung fr Moreiddig : 

li is probable they'll !><■ memberi 

Mr. Harry Vaughan, 
A just and upright lieutenant, 
And Steward paramount we ki 
Particularly of Dinas 
And Brecon castle, 
We've seen him in this situate 
When old Bess died. 
He promised full stoutly 
He'd ionic and defend us like 
He is indeed a man. fully 
Has he carried liis point : 
However troublesome 
When the inhabitants 
All under arms. 
Bringing with them p 
Thev said they'd pull 
That, he should no loi 

f parlii 

Of this 1 beg leave to assure (or warrant to) yon 
Thev said they'd killed afteen hundred 
And it they could but penetrate, into the rustle. 

My companions be 

Harry Vaughan cai 

With little I •, 

And six of his rolati 

it.-. I 

iqually undaunted ; 

As t!n 


elimbed the In 

do tin 

1 alarming 
f the high la 

ited l„ 

.1 to keep it. 

That they'd dr 

aleeding fr 

Vaughan ni wlia 

He's a rough one. 

Cod preserve ,,s p • ignorant mei 

Poet, -Mr. Harrv's mother 
Was a daughter of Miles Parry. 
Quite a notable heiress, we've he 

Of the land of Scuda re and 10 

From the Mill 'ns she bi ght tl 

Isn't that the marriage from whe 

lear Christians : 

us more of the lieutenant's pedigree, and the names of his 
octrv ; the author does not mean (however strong the likenes 

"The song then proceeds to 
com] (anions, in vile spelling and \v< 
between Harry and Hector) to assert that seven men beat twelve hiindn 
associates by the assistance they rendered to the garrison, both by tin 
enabled them to drive the enemy back without their errand. 

"However despicable this ballad may be as a composition, 
from it we learn that the weapon used at this time in Walt 
or billhook with a pike at the end. 

bul that Vaughan and his 
and their bravery, 

contains much curious information ; 
as well as in England, was a bill 

Bilirrj it pig yn ei bon 


" This instrument, says Sir William Temple, gave the most ghastly and deplorable wounds, and 
it certainly is of a very destructive construction, but it is by no means calculated for the attack of a 
castle, and therefore it is not difficult to account for the assailants' want of success ; indeed they 
seem to have expected to obtain a victory by surprise, but the governor or steward, being by some 
means or other apprised of their intentions, threw himself and a few select friends into the fortress, 
and the gates being secured, the fire of a few pieces of artillery and musketry must have dispersed 
them in a few minutes, and compelled them to take to their heels as fast as they could scamper ; 
from this song likewise it appears that the English garrisons or the forces and adherents of that 
country, then in Brecknockshire, were computed at fifteen hundred men. 


" The lordship or manor of Brecon is that part of the county which since the erection of the 
castle of Brecon, continually has been appendant and appurtenant to that fortress ; it consisted of 
nearly the whole of the hundred of Merthyr Cynog, of that part of Llywel which is Northward of 
the Usk, and of the parishes of Llanspyddid, St. David's, and Cantreff to the river Oynrig. The 
lordship of the great forest, or at least a great part of it, being acquired by the successors of Bernard 
Newmarch, subsequent to the conquest of Wales by Edward I. was not part of the lordship marcher, 
but was held by the lords of Brecon, like all other territories in Wales, (except the marches) as a 
fief under the Crown of England. While both these possessions continued in the same hands and 
under the same tenures, they were properly called the great lordship of Brecon ; but since the 
attainder of the last Stafford duke of Buckingham, when they were dissevered, this term is erroneous. 


King Charles II. granted to Mr. Rice the agistment of the Great Forest of Brecon (under 
date 1601), late parcel of the lands of Edward late Duke of Buckingham, attainted of high treason, the 
profits, &c, having been before demised to William Jones, gentleman, by the late Queen Elizabeth, 
17 March, 1581 for the term of 21 years, except reserved all wild animals and deer within the said 
Forest of Brecon and the herbage and feeding for them ; to have and to hold for the term of 31 
years paying yearly for the agistment of the said forest £20 6s. 8d. Mr. Rice Jones undertook to 
collect all dues and to deliver every third year a perfect terrier of the forest. 

"The lordship of the forest, which contains the most extensive part of the district, now (1805), 
held under a lease by Sir Charles Morgan, should be called the manor of the great forest, or the 
great forest of Devynnock, within the county of Brecon ; and the remainder of which he holds in 
fee, when compared with this, will almost sink into the little lordship of Brecon. The boundary of 
the great forest commences on the North Kast with the fall of the river Camlais into the Usk ; 
it proceeds up this latter river to its source, being intersected opposite Rhyd y briw, by the manor 
of the little forest ; it then follows the boundary between Glamorganshire and Breconshire to the 
Taaf Vawr ; here it proceeds upwards to the bridge which crosses the turnpike road from Brecon to 
Merthyr near the eighth mile stone, the boundary here is upon the North side of the Taaf upwards 
to the source of a brook called Podagau, leaving the Western van or beacon close upon the right ; 
down this brook to the Tarell, which it crosses, and then proceeds in nearly a straight line to the 
source of the Camlais, the boundary to the fall, where it commenced. In 10 Geo. 1. this manor was 
demised by the Prince of Wales to William Morgan of Tredegar, esq., to hold for twenty-one years 
after the expiration of a term then in existence, at the yearly rent of 201. 6d. 8d. This term has 
been frequently since renewed, and under a late grant from the crown, Sir Charles Morgan now (1805) 
holds it for a certain number of years yet to come. 

" The lordship of Brecknock remained entirely in the Crown until 1617, when it was granted to 
Sir Francis Bacon, Sir John Daccombe and other trustees, for ninety-nine years, for the use of the 
Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles the First. This term after several assignments became vested 
in 1639 in Thomas Morgan of Machan, in the county of Monmouth, esquire, Robert Williams, esquire, 
and Robert Stafford, gentleman; the two latter in 1662 released their interest to Mr. Morgan of 
Machan, and in the meantime the fee was conveyed by Charles the First, in the seventh year of 
his reign, to trustees for the use of Sir William Rnssel, reserving to the Crown an annual fee farm 
rent of forty-four pounds and one half-penny. Sir William Russel, in the following year, parted 
with his interest to Phillip Earl of Pembroke, from whom it was purchased in 1639 by William 
Morgan of Dderw or Therw in Breconshire, esquire, whose daughter and heiress, Blanch, intermarrying 
with William Morgan of Tredegar, esquire, son of the above named Thomas Morgan of Machan, 
brought this and other property in Brecknockshire to that family, in which it still continues. 

Lloyd's history of the forest. 

In the year 1905, Mr. John Lloyd, J. P., Barrister-at-law, of London, a son of the late John Lloyd, 


Sn R 


Esq., J.P., of Dinas, Brecknock, compiled from orginal documents and published a " History of the 
Forest from the Conquest of England to the Present Time." The scope of the work may be judged 
from the following table of contents: — The Early History of the Great Forest; The Hill Causes 
(Trials 1786); The 1813 Trial with the Crown — the compromise; The First Settlement: Enclosure 
and Award ; Sale of the Crown Allotment ; The Waun Tinker lawsuit — Morgan v. Lloyd, right of 
shooting, 1846; The Public Limestone Quarries — various lawsuits. INTsand lssii: The Commoners' 
Allotment-Owners Bill in Parliament in 1893, and its failure. To which are annexed (I) Lord 
Hobhouse on the Legal Position of the Great Forest. 1890; Lease of Minerals of Part of Great Forest 
to Mr. Johnes in 18(14 ; Copy of the Forest Award of 1X10, with schedule of Allotment-Holders; A 
Bill for Constituting the Commoners of the Great Forest of Brecknock a Body Corporate. In the 
preface to this most useful contribution to County History, the Author says: "The following pages 
are written with the object of placing fully before those interested the history of the Forest lands ; 
and the Author hopes that a clear knowledge of the events of the past may assist in bringing a 

peaceful and lasting settlement of the Forest difficulties Nearly all the documents referred to are 

to be found among the Maybery Pa pus, 1 and are authentic and trustworthy, many of them being 
the original documents."' There is a large coloured map of the Forest, dated 1819, attached to the 
work, and readers interested in this subject cannot do better than consult its pages. The present 
solicitors to the Commoners are Messrs. Jeffreys and Powell, of Brecon. 


Builth, as well as Dinas and Blanllyfni, were alienated in the reign of James the First. The 
former was purchased by Sir Edmund Sawyer, from whom by the marriage of his daughter it came 
to Sir Thomas Williams, the paternal ancestor of the Langoed baronets, who sold it to Judge Gwynne 
of Garth; in whose family it is at present (1805): a moiety of Cantreff-selyff was granted by the 
Crown about the same period, to the Williamses of ( Jwernvved, who uniting with the other line, the 
baronets, Williams of Tallyn and the Lodge, possessed it until it was sold about I sun to John Macnamara, 
esquire, whose lady being descended from the Wogans of Wiston in Pembrokeshire, and consequently from 
Gwrgan a]> Bleddin ap Maenarch. by a singular train of events, was seized of part of the property her 
ancestors enjoyed eight hundred years previously. The other moiety was granted by the ( Irown in the reign of 
Elizabeth, to Vaughan of Porthamal, from whom it has descended to the Earls of Ashburnham. The 
manor of Hay was illegally possessed in the reign of Henry the flight h by James Boyle, as part of the 
possessions of the priory of Hereford, of which it certainly never was parcel ; however, in the reign of 
.James the First, Howel Gwyn of Trecastle, marrying his grand-daughter and coheir Mary, obtained 
a grant of it as well as several possessions in the neighbourhood; from him it descended to the 
Vaughans of Trebarried, whose representative, the widow of the Honourable John Harley, I). I)., late 
bishop of Hereford, possessed it in 1805 : and Penkelly after several conveyances, which will he more 
minutely mentioned hereafter, became the estate of the Games' and Jones' of Buckland, and after- 
wards of the Jeffreys', from the latter of whom it was purchased by Thymic Howe Gwynne. esquire. 


On the 27th March, 1625, King Charles T. ascended the throne of England. His accession 
was an event of unalloyed pleasure to the great majority of the nation ; his virtuous and pure life 
pleased all men. Xo King ever ascended the throne with better prospects of a peaceful reign. 
Unfortunately he had been brought up in a had school, imbued from childhood with lofty ideas of 
kingly power, surrounded by servile flatterers. Charles immediately found himself at variance with 
his Parliament. Amongst the Commons were a party strongly possessed with Puritan feeling, a 
dislike to hierarchy, and a dread of incroachment from the Church of Rome. To maintain a hold 
over the King, they limited the supplies, granting a. sum insufficient for the needs of the Crown in 
view of probable war with Spain. King Charles dissolved Parliament. (hi the very same day he 
ordered the Lords Lieutenants to borrow from the rich in their respective counties. The so called 
loan was practically compulsory, as the names of those refusing were to be sent to the Council. 
The amount collected was small, but the dissatisfaction was intense. In the county of Brecon one 
hundred and five pounds only were lent by seven persons. Letters had been sent to seventeen ; seven 
only paid, and the rest sent excuses. 


The necessities of the King became more urgent. A new Parliament was assembled in 
February, 1620, but dissolved in the following June without supply being granted. Vessels were 

1 When the late Mr. H. O. A. Maybery ceased to practice a* a with Sir \V. T. Lewis, Bart., went to the expense of having them 

solicitor (1905). a large number of very valuable documents tabulated and copied. of those documents have beer 

relating to property in the County, and' to the Iron and Coal published in book form under the editorship of Mr. John 

Works of South Wales, were discovered by Mr. Lloyd, who, jointly Lloyd. 


wanted to carry on the war. In 1627 the seaport towns were called upon to furnish them ; this 
had not been unusual in times of emergency, but money being again wanted in 1635, ship money 
was again demanded. Now, however, it was levied on inland counties, and in a time of peace. 
In all," £200,000 was to be collected — Wales to pay £9,000, the proportion of Brecknockshire being 
£933. Little objection seems to have been raised to this impost ; a further attempt to raise ship 
money was made in October, 1636, but this time it was not easy, even in Wales, to collect the 
money. At the 3rd November, 1640, Parliament again met, and its members were determined to 
check the Royal power and reform abuses. The Court of Marches in Wales, which had become an 
instrument of oppression, was abolished. Stafford, the favourite minister of the King, was impeached, 
and, deserted by his royal master, executed. Among the defenders of Stafford was Mr., afterwards 
Sir, Herbert Price, of the Priory, Brecon, and member for that borough, representing possibly the 
loyalists of his constituents. The breach between King and Parliament widened daily, and fearing 
violence, Charles quitted London on the 10th January, 1642. 


The Parliament now attempted to obtain command of the Militia, and appointed deputy 
lieutenants in every county, generally persons not inimical to the King, against whom they still 
professed no quarrel. In the beginning of August, King Charles appointed the Marquis of Hertford, 
lieutenant for the six counties of South Wales and the neighbouring districts of England, with power 
to levy forces against all enemies in any of the said counties. During the summer months the 
country was stirred to its very depths, and on both sides earnest preparations for war were being 
made. * In South Wales the influence of the Marquis of Worcester was very great, and throughout 
the war he remained the most lavish supporter of the king. In Brecknockshire, Herbert Price of 
the Priory, was influential on the same side. Throughout the Principality the Royal cause pre- 

At the commencement of 1642, King Charles lay at York. In August he marched across the 
country, reaching Shrewsbury on September 20 ; here he was joined by his nephew. Prince Rupert 
of Bohemia. The town, being on the borders of Wales, where the Royalists were in a large majority, 
remained the headquarters for the Army during the war, and here the King stayed for a month. 
South Wales was free from the excitement which the Royal presence caused in the north, but Lord 
Herbert, eldest son of the Marquis of Worcester and others, were busy collecting arms and training 
men. Prince Charles of Wales visited Raglan Castle, where he was received with princely hospitality, 
and passing back through Radnor the people everywhere greeted him with affection. 


On the 12th October, the King resolved to advance on London ; he met the Parliamentary 
Army at Edgehill in Warwickshire, and in this battle a great many Welshmen were engaged ; " clad 
in the same garments in which they left their native fields, with scythes, pitchforks, and even 
sickles in their hands, they cheerfully took the field, and literally, like reapers, descended to the 
harvest of death." The issue of the day was doubtful, but the King shortly after retreated to 
Oxford, where he spent the winter. In the meantime, Lord Herbert raised an army in Monmouth- 
shire and Glamorganshire, and advanced into England ; meeting with defeat, he re-crossed the Severn 
into South Wales. With Royal armies raised to the north and south of them, we may well imagine 
that men of Brecknockshire joined in the fighting for the King ; vet the tide of war passed not up 
the Vale of Usk. 

In the following year, 1643, Lord Herbert was appointed Lieutenant General of South Wales 
and Monmouthshire, and again he raised an army for the King, joining Prince Rupert at Cirencester, 
after taking that town, Herbert met with defeat at Gloucester, and Waller, the Parliamentary 
General, pursued the army into South Wales, when Monmouth, Chepstow, and Hereford fell in quick 
succession, the negotiations at the latter place being undertaken by Colonel Herbert Price of the 
Priory, Brecon, who now for the first time drew sword for the King. War was thus raging to the 
immediate west and south, yet the mountains of Brecknock still remained inviolate. 


At the commencement of 1644 the King was at Oxford. Prince Rupert was appointed President 
of Wales, and on the 18th February he arrived at Shrewsbury, where throughout the year he 
defended the Royal cause with but moderate success. In South Wales the year opened badly for 
the Royalists. Colonel Laugharne, the Parliamentary leader, escaped from Pembroke and took the 
town of Tenby. Cardigan and Carmarthen were garrisoned for the King. Laugharne on April 10th 
and 11th mustered his troops, and the town of Carmarthen was "gotten by the sword by Pembroke 
men " ; the help which had been expected from Brecknock ca,me not. Colonel 0. Gerard was now 


placed in command of the Royal forces in South Wales, and he landed at Chepstow. Early in June 
he fell on the town of Carmarthen, which he presently mastered, and proceeded to subdue all Wales 
with such vigour thai by the end of August Pembroke and Tenby were the only places remaining to 
the Parliament. In North Wales the Parliamentary army had in September taken Newtown, held 
only by a small garrison of Royalists, and Montgomery Castle had been surrendered. Powis Castle 
in Montgomeryshire had fallen and Monmouth had been taken by the Parliamentary forces. Gerard, 
who had been watching Laugharne at Pembroke, marched northward through Abergavenny to 
Worcester, hoping there to join the King. His Majesty had, however, met with defeat at Newbury, 
and retreated into winter quarters at Oxford. Massey, the Parliamentary general, started from 
Monmouth in pursuit of Gerard, and in his absence the Royalists re-captured the town. Thus for 
still another year did the clash of arms resound through the neighbouring counties, while the county 
of Brecknock was spared the horrors of battle. 

On April 23rd, 1645, Gerard was again ordered into South Wales, where Col. Laugharne had 
resumed activity. Meeting with him at Newcastle Emlyn, Gerard defeated him with great loss, and 
Haverfordwest yielded the next day. Once more the Parliamentary forces were enclosed in Tenby 
and Pembroke, and the tide seemed turning in favour of royalty, so much so that when, on the 7th 
of May. the King left Oxford, he wrote to the Queen under date 9th of May, "Never since the 
beginning of the rebellion have my affairs been in so good a position." But on the 13th was fought 
the battle of Naseby, and here the forces of the King were utterly routed. Charles determined to 
go to Hereford, and thence into Wales, where he thought the people still true to him. He reached 
Hereford on the 19th June, and here Gerard joined him with 2,000 horse and foot ; but on the 
1st .Inly His Majesty left Hereford for Abergavenny, on the 3rd proceeded to Raglan, where he was 
certain of hearty welcome, and so spent nearly a fortnight in inactivity while the Parliamentary 
forces were closing round. On the 16th the King visited Sir William Morgan at Tredegar, returning 
on the 18th to Raglan, and on the 21th His Majesty essayed to fly to Bristol, but abandoned the 


Bridgewater had fallen, Hereford was in need of relief, and it was hoped that a Welsh army 
might be raised, but the ardour of Wales was gone. Sir Charles Gerard was a brave soldier, but a 
tyrannical ruler, and he had alienated the hearts of the people. From the 25th to the 29th July, 
the King was at Ruperra, the guest of Sir Philip Morgan, and on the 29th he was at Cardiff At 
the instance of the Welsh, Sir C. Gerard was removed from command, and Sir Jacob Astley put in 
his place. Col. Laugharne, hearing how things were going with the Royalists, determined to try 
once more the issue of battle, and on Friday, August 1st, he met the King's forces at Colby, Mon., 
and utterly routed them, so that on Saturday the town of Haverfordwest again fell into his hands. 


The country now cried loudly for peace. The King's prospects were very sad, and Prince 
Rupert, from Bristol, counselled his sovereign to seek peace. Let Charles's reply speak for itself : 
'■ Speaking as a mere soldier and statesman. I must say there is no probability but of my ruin ; 
yet as a Christian I must tell you that God will not suffer rebels and traitors to prosper nor this 
cause to be overthrown, and whatever personal punishment it shall please Him to inflict upon me 

must not make me repine Composition with them is nothing else but a submission, which, by 

the grace of God, I am resolved against whatsoever it cost me, for I know my obligation to be, 
both in conscience and honour, neither to abandon God's cause, injure my successors, nor forsake my 

friends " It was, however, high time for the King to study his own safety, as he was in the 

midst of danger. The Scots were at Hereford, and Laugharne, victorious in Pembroke, was said to 
be marching eastward ; accordingly the King, on the night of the 4th of August, set forth from 
( 'ardiff at the head of a small force, and marched over the mountains to Brecknock, where he rested 
for the night at the Priory, the house of his faithful friend Sir Herbert Price, then governor of the 

At Brecon, dated 5th August, 1645, he wrote to his son a most pathetic letter, from which 
we extract the following : — " Charles. — It is very fit for me now to prepare for the worst, in order 
to which I spoke with Colepepper this morning concerning you. judging fit to give it you under my 
hand, that you may give the readiest obedience to it. Wherefore know that my pleasure is, when- 
soever you find yourself in apparent danger of falling into the rebels' hands, that you convey yourself 
into France, and there tn lie under your mother's care, who is to have the absolute full power of your 
education in all things except religion anil in that not to meddle at all, but leave it entirely to the 
care of your tutor, the Bishop of Salisbury .... Your Loving Father, Charles, R." The next day, 


Wednesday the 6th, the King passed out of Brecknock into Radnor, and on his way he dined at Sir 
Henry Williams's seat at Gwernyfed, reaching Old Radnor the same evening. Thence he fled to 
Yorkshire and then to Oxford on the 28th, knowing possibly not where to go. From Newport, 
Sir Joseph Astley wrote that " the gentry of Brecknock were inclined to be neutral and to join 
with the strongest party,'' nor could he get help from Monmouth or Glamorgan. 


Elated by some successes in the north, the King returned to Hereford, the. seige of which 
was raised on his approach. Once more the King was seduced by the pleasures of Raglan, where 
he wasted a fortnight, and Langdale, his lieutenant, marched to Brecon, with what purpose is not 
clear. Laugharne, major general in the Parliamentary army, was busy in Pembrokeshire, and Carew 
mid Manorbier Castles were taken early in September; Picton yielded on the 20th, and Pembroke was 
cleared of I loyalists. Carmarthen negotiated a treaty. In Glamorganshire, the people were now 
unanimous for the Parliament ; and having little to do in that county, Major General Laugharne 
pushed his way into Brecknock, a county which had hitherto escaped wonderfully from the ravages of 
war. The majority of the gentry in Brecknock were favourable to the King. Herbert Price of the 
Prion', member for the borough, took up arms for the King, and was disabled from sitting in 
Parliament. John Jeffreys of Abercynrig, Lewis Lloyd of Wernos, and Edward Games of Buckland, 
were conspicuous Royalists ; but resistance was hopeless, and they may not have been loth, from 
motives of expediency, to propitiate the victorious party. Laugharne reached Brecon and was well 
received. For a short time the Castle, under Colonel Turberville Morgan, held out, but it fell, and 
the entire county was subdued. On the 17th November the county was assessed in £120 weekly ; 
and on the 23rd, thirty-four of the leading men of the county signed a declaration offering to submit 
their lives and fortunes to the service of Parliament. Herbert Price and John Jeffreys were absent. 
Laugharne sent the declaration to Parliament, where it was read on the 5th of December " with 

At the close of the year the people of Brecon must have heard with less satisfaction of further 
Royalists' defeats, of a host of cavaliers taken prisoners at Hereford, amongst them Sir Marmaduke 
Lloyd, chief justice of the great sessions for Brecon, Radnor, and Glamorgan ; Lieutenant-col. Herbert 
Price of Brecknock ; and Lieutenant-Col. Jeffreys of Abercynrig, Brecon. This happened on the 
18th December. In 1G46, South Wales was reduced to obedience to the Parliament ; the county of 
Brecon had made submission ; and the King yielded himself ^to the Scotch. In August, Raglan Castle, 
after a most brave defence, was forced to capitulate. The civil war was at an end. 


The year 1647 marks the commencement of disagreements between the victors — the Army and 
Parliament. The Presbyterians in Parliament voted the disbandment of the Army, and the Army 
insisted on being paid all arrears, granted an indemnity for acts done during the war, and other 
advantages. A meeting with Parliamentary Commissioners only led to further demands, that eleven 
members of the House, the chief enemies of the Army, should be impeached and in the meantime 
expelled the House. Of these eleven members, Sir William Lewis of Llangorse, in the county of 
Brecknock, member for Peterfield, was one. He and John Glyn of Carmarthen, Recorder of London, 
were charged with having acted in excess of their powers on a committee for the settling of Wales ; 
Sir W. Lewis was also charged with protecting delinquents, 1 amongst them Mr. Morgan, late knight 
of the shire, Mr. John Herbert, and others in Brecknock, freeing them from composition, and urging 
them to continue true to the King ; that many faithful to the Parliament had been unrewarded ; that 
he had caused the personal estate of Colonel Herbert Price (Governor of Brecon for the King) to be 
restored to him ; and had caused his real estate, worth £300 a year, to be let to a friend for £50 
for the benefit of Price's wife. All these allegations were denied, but the charges were not investigated, 
the accused members going across seas. 


The first of March, 1648, was the day fixed for the disbanding of some of the forces in Wales. 
Poyer, an officer of the Parliamentary army, declined either to disband or to deliver up the castle of 
Pembroke, and the Parliament's Commissioners were set at defiance. Colonel Horton was sent to 
quell the insurrection, and to carry out the disbandment of the troops. Early in April he established 
himself at Brecon, having dispersed a small garrison brought together by some of the gentry. Mr. 
Games appears to have been the leader of the movement, and he and some ten others were made 

1 Only four persons compounded for their estates in Breck- Jeffreys of Abercynrig, esq. for £380 ; Lewis Morgan, of Llan- 
nockshiro. in <i msn picure of their attachment to the royal cause, geney, gent, for £9; and John Williams, of Park in Builth, for 
these were John Herbert, of Crickhowel, esq. for £397 ; John £50 18s Od. 


prisoners. The Royalists of Brecon, thus deprived of their leading men, were by no moans put 
down, but joining with some from Radnorshire endeavoured to raise troops to harass Horton. An 
anonymous writer of the period makes this comment, dated from "Brecknock, April 29, KUs": — 
"Colonel Horton since his first coming here hath deported himself well. There were divers gentle- 
men of the county, Mr. Games and others, had drawn in same to garrison this town [Brecon] for 
the King, who do daily increase their strength. It is reported that they are about 5,000 and mostly 
armed, the malignant gentlemen wear blue ribbons in their hats with this motto: 

•■ I l-ne to see f\ < a crown 1 T) " 
"His Majestic yj \ a rose j _Ll 

Whilst Colonel Horton, writing to General Fairfax from St. Fagan's under date May 6, 164S, 
says : — " In -my last I made mention of sundry gentlemen of the counties of Brecknock and Radnor 

met in Builth to consult about the raising of the counties and my sending a party to apprehend 

them, the success whereof was the taking of one Mr. Hugh Lloyd (one of the excepted persons, 

Lewis Lloyd, late Sheriff of Brecon, and one of his sons Marmaduke Lloyd, and some others 

Captain Creed with three troups of Thornhaugh's regiment doth very good service, being now quar- 
tered about Glasbury Bridge, which is a great pass near the junction of the counties of Hereford, 
Radnor, and Brecon " 

In the month of January, 1649, King Charles I. was beheaded at Whitehall. 


"It has been seen that in 1134s, the tide of popular opinion was in favour of royalty: to the 
change of sentiments, which afterwards prevailed, several causes contributed. Hugh Peters having been 
sent by Cromwell to raise a regiment in South Wales, instead of recruiting, employed his time in 
Swansea, in drinking and dissipation, and fearing he might he called to account for hi- negligence 
and inattention, he pretended he had been engaged in forming, what he called a, "congregational 
church." 1 In this he was assisted by a Colonel Phillip Jones 2 of Penywain in Llangevelach (a 
parish in the neighbourhood of Swansea), a zealous and active partizan of Cromwell's, who in 1656 
became one of the members for the county of Brecknock, both having been then chosen for the 
county, and not one for the borough : he was also at that time one of his highness's council. In 
conjunction with this associate and a Mr. Samson Lort, they ventured to suggest what was afterwards 
called, the root and branch scheme; this was no other than the sequestration of all ecclesiastical 
benefices and revenues without exception, and bringing them into one public treasury, out which six 
itinerant (puritanical) ministers in every county were to be allowed one hundred a year each. To 
establish this godly reformation, an act was obtained, entitled ' an act for the propagation of the 
gospel in Wales;' under this law, needy and rapacious commissioners were appointed, who seized 
upon the property of the church, and ousted her most respectable ministers under the most trivial 
pretences and at the same time that they decried tythes, they enforced their payment with the utmost 
rigour, though no clear account could ever be procured how they were applied 3 . The infamous 
character and conduct of the inventors of this scheme, as well as the extortion and injustice with 
which it was attended and executed, alienated the minds of the generality of the inhabitants of 
Breconshire, and the dislike to the power of parliament which appeared there in 1648, was also 
greatly augmented by the knowledge of the harsh treatmenl of their captive monarch, as well as 
by the development of the interested views of the popular leaders, now become evident to all thinking 
men; but notwithstanding this general disinclination to obey the powers of the day. such was the 
activity and courage of the troops employed to crush the rising spirit of disaffection (as it was 
called) aided by the bravery and conduct, as well as the forces of a Colonel Jenkin 4 .lone- or 
Jenkin John Howel of Llanddetty in Breconshire. that they were obliged reluctantly to submit to 
the government of the commonwealth, and afterwards to the usurpation of Cromwell, though not with- 
out considerable struggles and frequent heart burnings, which occasionally broke out m complaints 
of the injuries and oppressions exercised over the country by the propagators of the gospel, and their 
agents and servants. A very strong memorial of this nature was presented by Mr. Edward 5 
Williams, sheriff of Breconshire in 1659, in answer to the queries from a committee of parliament 
to inquire how Wales was supplied with a ministry. It is much to be lamented that this curious 

le acquaintance of our readers ami to -a\ a g 1 deal mors 

mi when we i to treat of the parochial history .if the 

1 Walker's sufferings of 

2 Ancestor of the presei 
in Glamorganshire. 

:J It is remarkable that 

the clergy, \ 
it family of 

the act foi 

cl 1. p. 147. 

Jones, nf Fonmon east I,., 

• tin- propagation nf the 

gospel in Wales is not t.i 
statutes, &c. 

lie found 

m Scobel's collection of 

4 We shall have occasio 

n to introdu 

ce tliis i\Ir. Jenkin Jones 

\i lercamlai • ; ■ I i 

Bred mi- 


document is not now to he found ; from several extracts from it in Walker, it appears that this 
truly patriotic officer reprobated in very strong terms the conduct of the commissioners appointed 
under the act just mentioned, charging them with having ejected and dispossessed those clergy- 
men who were most eminent for the purity of their lives, or for their literary abilities, and suffering 
those only to hold benefices or preferments, who were ignorant, but ready to farm the tithes, or to 
take small stipends from the reformers. For the boldness of his language, Mr. Williams was removed 
from his office, and Lewis Jones of Trebinsliun, son of the fighting and praying Colonel Jenkin Jones, 
substituted in his room, but Williams was replaced the following year (A.I>. 1660) upon the restoration 
of Charles the Second, whose return was hailed with acclamations by his Welsh subjects, which were 
repaid in the same manner as he rewarded the majority of his English friends. 

In the reign of his brother and successor, who was engaged in the absurd attempt to convert 
and convince his subjects against their will, some of his partizans in the neighbouring counties, who 
were induced to support him from political or religious motives, endeavoured to avail themselves 
of the loyalty of the county of Brecknock, and similar efforts were made when his descendent landed 
in this kingdom ; but they were soon convinced that we were enemies alike to abitrary power and 
popular outrages, that the despotism of an individual who claimed a right to dispense with the laws at 
his pleasure was equally odious to us, with the fluctuating and unstable government of the many, 
and that the inhabitants of this part of Wales were determined to support that constitution to 
which we have now been so long habituated and endeared, and to which no portion of his majesty's 
subjects feel more warmly attached than we do, while it preserves the renovating and sanative power 
of amending its defects (a power, neither too frequent or too hastily to be exercised), while it accommo- 
dates our wants, encourages our arts, our commerce and our manufactures, as far as it can be done 
without prejudice to the general weal of the kingdom, and while under it we enjoy rational liberty 
and the protection of our persons and properties, by the operation of laws, dictated by wisdom and 
the light of experience, and administered to all ranks and conditions in life with equal justice and 


The following description of towns, villages, and roads in the county of Brecknock in the year 
1675, is taken from John Ogilby's Roads of England ami Wales. Road from Chester to Cardiff so 
far as it passes through Brecknock : — " From Radnorshire you cross Wye over a wooden bridg, where 
you at once enter Brecknockshire and the town of Bealt. a small town seated amongst woods contains 
about 80 houses ; hath a grand market on Monday's for live cattel, and two petty on Thursdays 
and Saturdays for provisions, with .'i fairs yearly, viz., 16th of June, the 21st of September, and 
St. Katherin's Day." [The description of the 16-mile road to Brecon is here described.] " Enter 
Brecknock seated at the confluence of the Usk and Hondy, called by the ' Britains ' Aberhondy. It 
is a large town corporate, containing three parish churches, viz., St. Maries. St. John Evangelist, and 
the College, and is divided into 11 wards, was formerly strengthened with a wall and castle, is 
at present the residence of the Bishop of St. David's, and is governed by a bailiff, 2 aldermen, and 
12 common council, hath the privilege of sending a burgess to Parliament, and enjoys three markets 
weekly, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and 3 fairs annually, viz., Midsomer day, 29th of 
August, and the 5th of November, is honoured by giving title of Earl to his grace .lames, Duke of 
Ormonde, and hath several good inns, as the Deer, Ragged Staff, King's Head, &c. [The road south 
is then described past Capel Taff Vechan to Ponstucketh Bridge] and enter Glamorganshire leaving 
Morlesh Castle on your right crossing the Tavy again, whence little occurs but passing over several 
great hills and large vales and by several dispersed houses [meaning perhaps Merthyr Tydfil and 
Dowlais] and so by Carfilly Castle to Cardiff. 

" The road from Monmouth to Llanbeder in Cardiganshire, [described from Monmouth to Aber- 
gaveny (vulgo Abergeny)]" enter Brecknockshire passing through a village called Llangrenay (Llan- 
groyne) where over a wooden bridg you cross the river Grenay and enter Crecowel a small town 
yet hath for its government a bailif and two burgesses, enjoys a small market on Mondays and three 
fairs annually, viz., May Day, St, Thomas, and St. Laurence. Numbers about 100 houses and hath 
an indifferent inn The White Lyon [Crickhowell bridge is not marked on the plate, but there is a 
wooden bridge over a brook probably Pont bryn hust over the Rhiangolch], you pass by some 
scattering houses on the road and leave Llanihangle y combdy [Cwmdu] on the right and by some 
houses on the road belonging to it called Tretowre, pass through a disunited village seated on an 
eminence called Bwlch in which is the Port Cullice Inn of good accommodation, whence a straight 
way leads through Llansaintfraed, Castro, [Penkelly] and Llanhamich all small villages to Brecon. 


"At the end of the town over a stone bridg of 7 arches you cross the river Usk and pass by 
several discontinued houses leaving St. David's Church on the left [the Tarcll bridge is marked stone] 
and are conveyed to a stone bridge of f> arches over the Usk when' you enter Redbrue [Rhyd y 
briw], a small village, and leave Defynoek Church about a mile on the left, you a third time cross 
the Usk [wood bridge over Usk] and cross it again when you pass through Trecastle, a small village 
with an inn in it, then ascending Castle Khali hill a straight and open way [heath on both sides] 
leads you to Carmarthenshire. 

"The road from ' Prestaine to Carmarthen,' plate 84 (Builth to Llandovery) after Builth "over 
a wooden bridg you cross the river Verrar [Irfon] pass through Cavenabeth a small village [Cefn y 
bydd] whence by several disperst houses and by Mr. Price's house on the right [? Cilmery] you come 
to Llanavar [Llanavan fechan] and to a wooden bridge called Ponteridgley over a brook, then passing 
again by some houses you descend and [6m. and 2f. from Builth] leave Mr. Lloyd's house on the right 
and crossing two or three small brooks by some houses on the left ascend a hill of !> furlongs, whence 
a straight open way sprinkled with houses brings you [12 miles from Builth] to a house on the right 
called Ludlou Vaugh where you enter Carmarthenshire." 

Distances seem to have been vague. Presteign to Carmarthen, the vulgar computation 
46 miles ; the dimensuration 6] miles. These three roads are the only ones in Brecknockshire planned 
by Ogilby, the main interest of this narrative being the description of towns at the date. The anti- 
quity of bridges, chiefly in those days built of wood, while the want of record of Merthyr Tydfil 
and Dowlais in the south, and of Llangammareh and Llanwrtyd in the north indicates the advance 
of prosperity in the three centuries which have passed since Ogilby compiled his interesting book. 


The Duke of Beaufort's Royal Progress— Extracts from Books of Orders of the Court of Quarter Sessions, 
Vol. 1—1686-1713; Vol. 2—1714-1742; Vol. 3—1742-1762; Vol. 4— 1762-1787; Vol. 5— 1787-1815.— 
Ironmasters.— Crawshay Pedigree. 

AS early as the reign of King Edward IV., a few years after the eldest son had been created 
Prince of Wales, a Council was appointed who exercised authority in the Prince's name for 
the better government of Wales and the Marches. The Statutes relating to Wales in the reign of 
Henry VIII. were passed at the instigation of Lee, Bishop of Litchfield, at that time president of 
the Council. The institution of the Courts of Great Sessions relieved the Council of much of its 
business, civil and criminal, but it continued to sit at Ludlow, exercising a concurrent jurisdiction. 
The breaking out of the Civil War suspended its functions, and with the surrender at Ludlow Castle 
to the forces of Parliament on the 6th June, 1646, the Court of Council was virtually abolished. 
After the Restoration the Council was re-established under Lord Carbery as president, and on the 
19th March, 1672, Henry, third Marquis of Worcester, was appointed Lord Carberv's successor. He 
was already Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and now became Lord President of the Council and 
Lord Lieutenant of the Counties in Wales. On the 2nd December, 1682, he was advanced for his 
eminent services to the King since his restoration to the title of Duke of Beaufort. 


Of this nobleman. Lord Macaulay writes : ' ' His official tours through the extensive regions in 
which he represented the Majesty of the throne were scarcely inferior in pomp to royal progresses. 
His household at Badminton was regulated after the fashion of an earlier generation. The land to 
a great extent round his pleasure grounds was in his own hands ; and the labourers who cultivated 
it formed part of his family. Nine tables were every day spread under his roof for two hundred 
persons. A crowd of gentlemen and pages were under the orders of the steward. The fame of the 
kitchen, the cellar, the kennel, and the stables was spread over all England. The gentry many 
miles round were proud of the magnificence of their great neighbour, and were at the same time 
charmed by his affability and good nature. He was a zealous Cavalier of the old school." The pro- 
gress of such a man through Brecknock would no doubt be the great event within the county during 
the year 1684. In the train of the Duke travelled Thomas Dineley, who has left an interesting 
account of the progress. 

"Monday, July 14, 1684. — The most noble and illustrious Prince Henry Duke of Beaufort, 
Marquis and Earl of Worcester, Baron Herbert of Raglan, Chepstow, and Gower, Lord President of 
Wales, Lord Lieutenant of the Counties of Gloucester, Hereford, and Monmouth, etc., Knight of the 
Most Noble Order of the Garter, began his progress towards the general visitation of his commands 
in the Principality of Wales." 

On Thursday, July 17. the Duke arrived at Ludlow, where an account is given of his caval- 
cade : " Towards the evening of July 17, His Grace was met about a mile short of Ludlow by the 
Ludlow officers of his presidency. < >n his approach the mace was shouldered, upon which all the 
officers with those others belonging to Ludlow Castle and of his Grace's retinue and family became 
uncovered and fell into their places two and two. The inhabitants of Ludlow lining the road and 
avenue to the town on both sides. The order wherein his Grace the Duke of Beaufort, Lord Presi- 
dent of Wales, in solemn manner, made his entry into Ludlow was thus — 
" First. The Quarter-master for the Progress. 

2. Four sumpture men in livery well mounted and leading their bagge covered with fair sump- 

ture cloaths of fine blue cloth diversified and embroidered with the coat of arms of his 

3. Three helpers belonging to the stables, in livery, leading horses to supply accidents and defect 

of the ' coach cavalry.' 

4. His Grace's Gentleman of the Horse, well mounted and equipped. 


5. Six pages in rich liveries following him two and two. 

6. Seven grooms in livery, each with a led horse comparisoned. 

7. His Grace's four trumpeters in very rich coats, having for body his Grace's cypher in gold 

under a ducal crown on their hacks and breasts, eacli with a silver trumpet with gold and 
silver strings and tassels, and crimsoned flowered damask banners embroidered with the 
coat of arms of his Grace, etc. 

8. The Lieutenant Colonel of the Militia of the County of Wilts, who led the cavalcade of his 

Grace's gentlemen, officers, and servants of his family. 

9. Two gentlemen at large (one of whom we may expect was Mr Thomas Dineley). 

10. The Yeomen of his Grace's wine cellar, and the Groom of the Chamber, ' in a breast.' 

11. The Cooks. 

12. The Master of Music, and the Harper to his Grace. 

13. The Mareschall or Farrier of the Progress. 

14. The Clerk of the Kitchen and another. 

15. Captain Spalding and the Rev. his Grace's Chaplain. 

16. The Steward of the House and Steward outward 

17. The Secretary and Solicitor. 

18. Mr Lockwood and Mons. Claud of his Grace's Chamber. 

19. Muster Master of Gloucester and the Governor of Chepstow Castle. 

20. The Sergeant with the Mace. 

21. Officers White Rod and Pursuivants. 

22. His Grace the Duke of Beaufort and Lord President of Wales himself in glorious 


23. The Right Hon. Charles Earl of Worcester, the High Sheriff of Salop, and a great number of 

These were followed by his Grace's chariot and two coaches and six horses, wherein was her 
Grace the Lady Duchess of Beaufort, the Countess of Worcester, the most noble ladies her 
daughters, their women, and a great retinue. 

How they were nobly entertained at Ludlow, and the progress made through North Wales is 
beyond our purpose, until on Tuesday, August 5th, having crossed the Wye at Whitney Ford 
(no bridge then) in his chariot. His Grace was received by the High Sheriff, gentlemen, and county 
troop of Brecon, who first conducted him to the Haye, a market and castle town in Brecknock- 
shire, where his Grace and company dined, a very handsome entertainment having been provided 
at the Castle. 

Tuesday, August 5, in the evening, the Duke of Beaufort came to Brecknock, accompanied by 
a great number of gentlemen besides his own attendants, and the Militia horse of this county, finding 
a guard made by the foot on both sides of the way from the town gate, where the Bayley, Colonel 
Jefferies, the Town Clerk, the rest of the Town Council, magistrates, and officers of the Town, were 
ready in their robes of magistracy to receive him to the house of the said Colonel Jefferies, called 
the Priory at Brecknock, at which place his Grace lay two nights, both himself and company and 
retinue being delicately entertained. At the following day, August 6th, the Earl of Worcester arrived 
from Troy, his seat in Monmouthshire ; again there is a function and feasting as before, and the 
company are led to the Town Hall, where his Grace, the Earl of Worcester. Sir John Talbot, and 
other persons of quality were made Freemen. 

On Wednesday, August 6th, His Grace the Duke of Beaufort accompanied by the Earl of 
Worcester and other persons of quality, took a view of the Militia of this county in a meadow 
near the Town, where they were drawn up to exercise, ' and made severall close and laudable fire- 
ing.' It consisted of one troop, and five companies of foot with green colours flying. The toot were 
clad with new hatts, blew cassacks, white sashes edged with blew worsted fringe, broad buff coloured 
shoulder belts, and red yarn stockins. The horse appeared well mounted, with buff coats, carbines, 
pistolls ; back, breast, and pott (steel armour and helmet perhaps), bridles, and collars, huisses with 
their cloaks strapped behind them. With officers at the head of both in good equippage. 

Thursday, August 7, 1684, the Duke of Beaufort parted from Colonel Jefferies, well satisfied with 
the good order he found the Militia in, both horse and foot of this county ; and with jjhis reception, 
not only there but in the Town of Brecknock, "which were very noble." He was conducted to 
the confines of the county by the High Sheriff and gentry and Militia troop, and in ye road two 
miles from hence in the highway His Grace's coach was stayed with a neat banquet of sweetmeats 
and wine presented by Daniel Williams, of Penpont, Esquire, after which his Grace being come to 


the edge of Carmarthenshire the Brecknockshire troop was relieved by the High Sheriff, gentry, and 
Militia troop of that county ; and with the Brecknock troop we too returned into our own county. 

Farewell, Your Grace ! And as we ride back to Brecon we doubtless tell each other how well 
we should like to serve under so noble a commander, as indeed we do serve before a year is out, 
when occasion arises for His Grace to do once more loyal service to his Sovereign. 

BOOK of ORDERS of QUARTER SESSIONS.— Vol. 1 : 1686—1713. 

The first volume of the Orders of Quarter Sessions covers the period from A.D. 1686 to October, 
1713 (from the second year of King James II. to the 12th of the reign of Queen Anne). The head- 
ings are in Latin with abbrevations difficult to read. The year is given as that of the Sovereign 
with these exceptions : the date at commencement being given as 1686, the date 1702 and 1710 are 
written in figures, but the number of Sessions between do not seem to tally. From this cause the 
present chapter may be in error as much as a year in some statements. There were few adjourn- 
ments of the Court (" adjournamentum " is the word used, which speaks well for the inventive 
genius of the clerk). 

The year before the commencement of the Record, 1685, is the date of the accession of King 
James II. He had not ascended the throne without opposition ; the Duke of Monmouth endeavoured 
to raise the South Western counties of England in support of his own pretensions to the Crown. 
While a wanderer on the Continent in early life, Charles II. had met at the Hague, Lucy Walters, 
a Welsh girl of great beauty ; she became his mistress, and in 1649 gave birth to a son. After the 
Restoration, this son, now grown to man's estate, appeared at Whitehall, where he was acknow- 
ledged by the King, with whom he became a great favourite ; amongst other honours he had the 
Dukedom of Monmouth conferred upon him. Many thought that Charles had been married to Lucy 
Walters, and that, if all had their rights, Monmouth would have been Prince of Wales and heir to 
the throne of England. 

On the accession of James II. Monmouth landed at Lyme on the 11th June with a small 
following ; the populace accepting him as the champion of the Protestant religion and the heir of 
England, and flocked to his standard. At Taunton he was received with transports of joy, the people 
of Bridgwater furnished him with money, and he assumed the royal title and marched upon Bristol. 
At Bristol, Henry Duke of Beaufort was in arms. He had, as we have seen, inspected the Militia 
of the district under his command in 16S4, and at this crisis he used his whole influence in support 
of the Crown ; with the trained bands of Gloucester and other levies he occupied Bristol. 

Monmouth was encamped only five miles from the town, when the garrison was reinforced by 
the King's life guards and the siege was abandoned. On the 20th of June the forces of the King 
gained a decisive victory at Sedgmoor near Bridgwater ; on the 6th July Monmouth was captured 
and beheaded on Tower Hill. 


In the Army of the Duke of Beaufort there fought at Bristol, and probably at Sedgmoor, some 
of the Militia he had reviewed at Brecon in the preceding August ; for in April, 1686, the justices 
ordered that the maimed soldiers for this county should at the next Sessions appear and give in 
their several certificates whereby they are qualified to receive pensions ; and that no person should 
be added to the list of maimed soldiers until his certificate be examined. In January, 1687, it was 
further ordered that the moneys raised upon the inhabitants of this county towards the charge of 
the soldiers who went to Bristol in order to suppress the late rebellion be forthwith accounted for. 
It would appear from this that we may conclude the character of the old soldier was much the 
same then as in other ages, and that the certificate of identity was a not unnecessary precaution. 

The chief work of the justices would appear to have been of a character now performed in 
Petty Sessions or by Boards of Guardians. Paupers were then, and till within the memory of man, 
maintained by the parishes, but by reason of defect in the law, poor people were not restrained from 
going from one parish to another, and thus endeavour to settle themselves in those parishes where 
there was the best stock, the largest commons or wastes to build cottages, and the most woods co 
burn and destroy, and when they had consumed it, then to another parish. We thus find it stated, 
" It shall be lawful by Justices warrant to remove such persons to the parish where they were last 
legally settled." This Act was passed in 1662, twenty-four years before the Record of Quarter Sessions 
opened, and marks the commencement of the law of settlement. Orders to a certain parish to 
maintain this or that pauper, and appeals arising out of these orders, formed no inconsiderable part 
of the work of Justices in Sessions. 


Orders in bastardy, now for a long time relegated to Petty Sessions, were then and till the 4th 
year of King William IV.. issued at the Quarter Sessions. The Act is Elizabeth, ch. .'!, ''Concerning 
bastards, horn out of lawful matrimony (an offence against. God's law and man's law), the said 
bastards being now left at the charges of the parish where they he horn, to the great burden of the 
said parish," indicates pretty clearly that the enactment that these unwelcome strangers shall be 
supported by the putative father, and for the punishment of the erring parents, was dictated as 
much by desire for the economic welfare of the parish as with the object of improvement in morals. 
It is a little startling to find it "ordered that Margaret Rods now in the house of correction and 
mother of a bastard child be publicly whipt on Saturday next at Brecon in the market time," but 
this is the first year of the Record, and as it does not recur, let us hope that public opinion con- 
sidered the chastisement over-severe. 

Whipping was a punishment frequently awarded. An offender found guilty of sheep-stealing is 
ordered to he whipped ; for a like offence a woman is condemned to lie whipped next market day 
from the Gaol to the East Gate at Brecon, much to the delight probably of the younger inhabitants 
of the borough. John and Ann Thomas, found guilty of stealing one sheep value 12d. are ordered 
to be whipped at Brecon and Crickhowell. There is an order, too, that forty shillings be raised for 
an instrument for "branding felons on the cheeke." 


During the Reformation and the revolution that followed it, religious intolerance was rife. Roman 
persecuted Protestant and Protestant persecuted Roman ; Puritan ousted Churchman, and Churchman 
was embittered against Nonconformist. After the Restoration, King Charles II. made several attempts 
to grant toleration, but as these endeavours were supposed by Parliament to spring from a desire to 
favour Roman Catholics, they uniformly failed. In Brecknockshire in 16S6, Maud Howel and Eleanor 
Morgan were cited as Dissenters in absenting themselves from Church for three Sundays ; a somewhat 
rigorous definition of conformity which might convict many good Churchmen at the present day. 
No harm, however, seems to have happened to Maud and Eleanor. " Here endeth the reign of 
King James the Second," a note which helps us with our dates. 

When King James the Second, partly for political and partly for religious causes, was in 1688 
expelled the throne, the claim of Dissenters to a milder treatment could not well be disregarded by 
the monarch they had helped to elevate. Accordingly the Toleration Act bestowed on all but Roman 
Catholics and Unitarians, full liberty of worship upon taking the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, 
and certifying their places of worship to the Justices of the Peace. 

In 1692 the dwelling house of Rees Haidd, in the parish of Llanddew. was presented as a 
meeting house wherein Protestant Dissenters may exercise their religion. Similar entries become 
frequent as the Volume proceeds. In 1695, H. Powell, a Protestant Dissenting minister, in open 
Court took the oaths and declarations prescribed to exempt him from the penalty of the costume 


It may be worth mentioning that Henry Jasper having been imprisoned by the Crickhowell 
magistrates for taking twenty young salmon out of season, was discharged by Quarter Sessions, his 
conviction being erroneous and contrary to law. 


A more grievous offender was Sir Rowland Gwynne, High Sheriff, for non-return of the writ to 
him delivered for holding the Sessions in July, 1688. He was fined £300, being thrice called to give 
his attendance to the Court, and not appearing by himself or deputy, he was further fined £700. 


The repair of bridges has ever been a serious cost in this county of mountain torrents. Towards 
the end of the 17th century many bridges needed repair at every Quarter Sessions. They were 
constantly referred to as being in a ruinous condition ; and were repaired chiefly at the cost of the 
various districts, the custom being to contract with a carpenter to keep the bridge in repair for a 
number of years. The bridges were almost universally constructed of wood. In October, 1703, it 
was ordered that a.ll public bridges on common roads (which seems to mean main roads) lie in future 
repaired by the inhabitants of the whole county, and that the justices at the next Sessions do bring 
in a list of bridges in their respective hundreds, a list of which would he of interest if still in 
existence. Bridges over smaller streams continued to be repaired by the localities. As a first fruit 
of the new legislation. Crickhowell bridge, then ruinous, was ordered to lie rebuilt witli stone piers 


and arches for £400 at the expense of the county, January, 1706. The finger posts, which some of 
us may remember in a decayed condition, were in 1707 erected at the cost of the parishes. 


This was built in the year 16S7 at a cost of £200 "within the walls of the town of Brecon," 
the old building being sold to the best advantage. In 1693 the Burgesses of Brecon, having no 
house of correction, the justices of the county arranged for the borough prisoners to be sent to the 
county prison ; the Borough apparently contributing one twenty-fifth part of the cost of construction 
and annual maintenance. 


The inhabitants of the county on the other hand used as Shire Hall a building belonging to the 
Borough, and there held the Quarter Sessions. The County contributed a sum of ten pounds thereto 
in July, 1706. 

ORDERS of QUARTER SESSIONS.— Vol. 2 : 1714 (Jan.)— 1742. 

The Second Volume of the Orders of Quarter Sessions commences with October, 1714 (not 1713 
as the book is labelled). There seems to be a year missing. During that time Queen Anne had 
passed away on August 1, 1714, and George First, Elector of Hanover, great grandson of James 
First of England, ascended the throne. The greater affairs of the nation had left but little trace 
in the county annals, the Justices pursued the even tenor of their way, concerning themselves with 
roads and bridges, poor law appeals, and the like, the bulk of which became uninteresting, even to 
those most concerned with the county. 

Bridges were still generally built of wood, liable to overthrow and ruin. In 1716 a hundred 
pounds was levied on the inhabitants of the county for the repair of that part of Builth bridge 
which lies within the county, and a contract was entered into with Marmaduke Prothero, who was 
to keep it in repair for seven years, unless it be carried away by the violence of flakes of ice. A 
committee was appointed in October, 1716, to consider the methods proper for securing "such part 
of this bridge as lies in this county " against the violence of any flakes of ice. 

It will be clear from this and similar entries, that, the centre of the Wye being the boundary 
between the counties of Brecknock and Radnor, the responsibility of either county ends at the 
"middle of the thread of water." To anyone of sense it will be further apparent that it was but 
little use to protect the Brecknock half only from disaster, the one half being of little good to either 
county if the other half be carried away. A more reasonable course was adopted at Newbridge, 
where a committee of Brecknock justices met a committee from Radnor as to the repairs of the 
bridge ; the Court having ordered that the cost of repairing that part of the bridge which lies within 
this county shall be raised by rate, the Committees agree that the repairs shall be put into the 
hands of one man, a moiety of his expenses being paid by either county. When a whole bridge 
was ruinous this device answered, but it required careful supervision ; and in April, 1731 — a present- 
ment having been made that New-bridge over Wye "requires repair" — it is quashed as too general. 
The presentment did not state which end of the bridge needed repair, and the responsibility of this 
county extended only so far as "the end of the bridge which lies in this county, that is, to the 
middle thereof." As to bridges within the county, and wholly repairable by it, inconveniences arose 
by reason of delay, and it was therefore ordered in April, 1728, " that it shall be lawful for any 
two justices to employ workmen to cure the defects and account to Sessions." 

introduction of guns for sport. 

Guns, applied to sport, originated in the last part of the 17th century. Flint locks were 
brought into England in the reign of King William the Third, and became popular. This may have 
been the reason why lords of the various manors appointed as gamekeepers gentlemen anxious to 
enjoy the privilege of sporting. In Builth Manor, 1722, David Evans of Llanlleonfel, gentleman, 
procured a deputation under the hand of Marmaduke Gwynne, Esquire, lord of the manor, for hunting 
within the said manor, and appointing him gamekeeper. William Vaughan was appointed for the 
Manor of Dinas. Similar appointments were made for Gwenddwr, Crickhowell, and Tretower, and 
for various manors throughout the county. 

Servants' wages seemed to have been limited by law. In 1733 an assessment was ordered for 
the better regulating the wages of servants, artificers, workmen, and labourers in husbandry, to be 
filed in the Court ; and further ordered that a competent number be printed and distributed through- 
out the county, that all persons concerned therein may the better know and observe the contents. 


Criminal law was still administered with great severity. In 1619 King James I. had directed 
that a hundred dissolute persons should be sent to Virginia. A more systematic development of 


transportation took place in 171^, when an Act was passed by which offenders who had escaped 
the death penalty were handed over to contractors, who engaged to transport them to the American 
Colonies. These contractors were invested with a property in the labour of convicts for a term of 
years, which right they frequently sold. 

On the prosecution of the County of Brecknock in I7.'C>. Stephen Perry and Cecil Henniger 
"gentlemen," were to be tried in the Court of Exchequer at Westminster, for breaking their bond, and not 
transporting the bodies of certain felons as they had contracted to do. Two years later Stephen Perry, 
of Bristol, was again in default, for not transporting Elizabeth Wat kins ami two other felons " to merchant, 
some part of His Majesty's plantations in America." He made proposals for accommodating the 
affair in an amicable manner; proceedings were stopped, and the bond cancelled, Stephen to pay 
all costs. He undertook to transport, the felons named in the bond at his own expense ; or prosecute 
them for their escapes, so as they or any of them shall hereafter be apprehended. Likewise he would 
receive from the county all such felons as should hereafter be ordered for transportation for the 
space of seven years, the inhabitants of the said county paying three pounds and three shillings for 
each felon, and delivering them at the city of Bristol without any charge or expense whatever to the 
said Stephen Perry. From which we gather that Stephen Perry was learning the value of convict 
labour, and may perhaps surmise that Elizabeth Watkins, or one of her two friends, had made it 
better worth Perry's while to connive at their escape than to transport them beyond the seas. For 
what offences was this tremendous punishment of seven years' slavery, at some place unspecified in 
America, awarded in the year 1738 ? Here is an instance : John Jones and Thomas Jones, indicted 
for stealing one black cock and three hens, were ordered to be severally transported for the space of 
seven years ; and to carry this sentence out, it was further ordered that the sum of forty pounds 
be levied upon the inhabitants of the county for the charges and expenses of removing the several 
bodies of John and Thomas Jones, and two others, from the gaol to Bristol, and thence transporting 
them. Truly this cock and three hens were most costly ! 

In 1734, and afterwards, the headings of the Record are in English ; hitherto they are in Latin. 
In 173S the Records were kept in presses lying in the outward room of the Guildhall at Brecon. 

Houses were still licensed for the worship of Nonconformist bodies : Notably three houses at 
Hay for Quakers. The Community of Friends still had a place of worship at Hay in 1851, with 
sittings for 40 persons, but on Test Sunday only three persons attended. 

Ministers still appeared in Court to take the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy and to sign the 
articles of religion, except half of No. 20, 24, 25, 26, as by law required. 

RECORDS of QUARTER SESSIONS.— Vol. 3: 1742—1762. 

I taring the period covered by the third volume of Quarter Sessions, the years arc noted in plain 
characters at the Easter Sessions each year ; that being probably then as now the commencement of 
the financial year. Later in the book, the numbering commences with January. Vol. 3 has less of 
interest than the preceding volumes. Appeals against rating and removals, and the ordinary routine 
work, of which the interest has long passed away, fills much of the book. King George the Second 
was in the second year of his reign. 

Crime consisted of assaults and thieving ; assaults were lightly punished with a tine of at most 
a few shillings, but petty larceny was visited with savage severity. In 1751 Mary Havard, guilty 
of petty larceny, was ordered by the Court "that she be stript naked from the waist upward, and 
then tyed to and whipped so naked at a cart's tail from the goal (this is how the word is always 
spelled) to Cask Bridge within the town of Brecon, and from thence back again to the goal on Satur- 
day next between the hours of twelve and one." In 1756 Rachel Richards was treated in the same 
way "at the rising of the Court," possibly that their worships might see the fun! 


In 1744, the Sexton of the Parish Church of St. John the Evangelist produced his account of 
fees due ' ' for the burial! of the corps of several poor debtors, who lately died of a malignant fever 
in the goal." He was paid eight shillings due to him and the minister. Doubts, let us hope, were 
creeping into the public mind whether there was much use in imprisoning a poor debtor till he died 
of malignant fever, for we rind under the head of "Discharge of insolvent debtors out of ye goal 
pursuant to ye late Act," that Roger Prosser, a poor prisoner for debt, was brought into Court by 
the " Goaler " in order to have the benefit of an Act of Parliament for the relief of insolvent 
debtors : and as he had given due notice to his creditors, with a schedule of his effects, and owes 
no one creditor more than two hundred pounds, he was discharged. And so he and others again 
breathed the air free men, just about the time that the Sexton was being paid eight shillings on 
account of the effect of the fever. 


The old wooden bridges continued to give trouble. In 1744, the overseer of the repairs of Builth 
Bridge undertook to pay thirty shillings to certain helpful people for their assistance in saving many 
pieces of the old timber of Wye Bridge from being carried away by the late floods. Crickhowell 
Bridge had been rebuilt of stone, for two masons were employed to repair it. Even stone bridges 
had their inconveniences, as we find it recorded that the coping stones of the side walls (in 1748) 
"had been thrown down by idle and disorderly persons for want of the said stones being crampt 
with iron," which it was thought would prevent the mischief, and the stones were forthwith crampt 
with substantial iron crampts, as may lie seen to this day. A weir, too, had been constructed under 
the bridge to protect the work. 


In the spring of 17. r >(i an outbreak of cattle distemper seemed to have been warded off by the 
wise action of the Court. The complaint, which had raged amongst the horned cattle in divers parts 
of the kingdom, had also broken out in the counties of Salop and Montgomery : the Court therefore 
ordered that "no person whatsoever shall presume to drive cattle from Salop, Montgomery, or Radnor 
into the county, and that no fair or market for the sale of cattle shall be held within the county 
without proper certificate as to the health of the cattle." Further, " that the constables of the parishes 
adjoining the River Wye do hinder the driving of cattle over the bridges and fords," which the 
parish officers were required to watch. Before the rising of the Court additional inspectors were 
appointed to aid the constables, and the justices adjourned to an early date to take further counsel 
on the matter. The stopping of the fairs was probably necessary, but was certainly unpopular, so 
at the adjourned meeting in February, the Court considered that fairs held under proper restrictions 
would not be attended with ill effects, and the order was rescinded, so that Talgarth fair on the 1st 
of March may be held, only for the sale of cattle from within the county ; the order against the 
importation from the northern counties remained in force. The relaxed order as to fairs was not 
viewed with favour in Monmouth. On the 11th June the Court observed with much concern an 
order of the Monmouth Justices prohibiting the importation of horned cattle from Gloucester, Hereford, 
or Brecknock, which, so far as Brecknock was concerned, seemed founded on an idle rumour of 
infectious disease amongst the horned cat lie. So the Court thought it well to certify and declare 
that there was no such disease in the county, nor within forty miles of it. This is the last item 
dealing with the matter, so that it is hoped our ancestors were saved from the ravages of cattle 
plague, and that concord was restored between them and their neighbours in Monmouth. 

ORDERS of QUARTER SESSIONS.— Vol. 4: 1762-1787. 

The Fourth Volume of the Orders of Quarter Sessions commences in the second year of the reign 
of King George III. Appeals against rating and orders of removal were far more common than in 
subsequent times, when the work of Quarter Sessions had been eased by Petty Sessions and Boards 
of Guardians. The management of roads and bridges, the authorisation of various houses for 
Protestant Dissenters to hold their religious worship in, the release of poor debtors under a recent 
Act, and criminal justice constituted the main work of the Court. 

In 1769, the highways near Builth were in a state of great dilapidation [from which, it may 
also be added, some of them have not yet recovered]. Howell Gwynne, Esq., a justice, reported from 
his own view, that the high roads from Rhayader to Brecon, through the parish of Gwarafog and 
Llanfechan, and from Merthyr Cynog to Upper Chapel, and other roads in the neighbourhood, " be 
founderous," and too narrow, and not safe for carriages to pass and repass, and should be amended 
by the inhabitants of the parishes in which they were situated. 


The rebuilding of bridges with stone continued. The " new " bridge, Llangynider, (now con- 
sidered a most ancient and inconvenient structure), was repaired in 1767. Even then it was a stone 
fabric with a cobble roadway, in that year replaced with gravel. Usk Bridge in the town of Breck- 
nock, was in 1772 reported to be ruinous, and to be repaired by the Town and County. The 
following year, Llangrwyne Bridge was to be rebuilt under the inspection of Andrew Maund, car- 
penter, who was to have twenty guineas for his trouble. Andrew Maund was an enterprising man ; 
he will be frequently heard of, and his descendant in our own time has been High Sheriff of the County. 
The Grwyne Bridge, apparently of stone abutments, with a wooden framework between the pillars 
to support the road, was entrusted to Joshua Morgan ; but as he failed to give security for the 
completion of the contract, Andrew Maund of Brecon undertook the work. This was an important 
work of stone, and it was directed that the foundations should, if possible, be sunk to the rock. 
The bridge was to be of three arches, with eighteen feet of roadway, protected by parapets of four 


feet ; the middle arch to he thirty-five feet in span, the two others twenty-five. Before this, no sueh 

careful specification is to he found in the records. The cost was to he £185. In 1767 the bridges 

generally were placed in charge of the justices acting within the limits of the several bridges, who 
were to contract with workmen for repairs. 


In 1770, a Clerk of the Markets was appointed in each of the towns of Brecon, Builth, and 
Hay; the clerk of Hay being Dougall MacGibbon, who hardly sounds a native of the county. Their 
duty was to take the price of corn and grain and make returns to His Majesty's treasury, " agree- 
able " to the late Act of Parliament. For this it was agreed to pay them two shillings for each 
return, but of this the county repented, and finally agreed to pay them one shilling a week and 
one and sixpence for each return. In 1717, the Court ordered that the Winchester measure of eight 
gallons to the bushel, and no other, be used in the selling and buying of corn. We notice that it 
was established to the satisfaction of the Court that Sophia Jones, widow, accidentally lost 650 
bushels of malt for which she had paid duty, She asked for and received back £32 10s. Od. from 
His Majesty's Officer of Excise. We cannot help wondering how she could manage to lose so bulky 
a property. 

In 1771, the Shire Hall being shortly to be taken down and rebuilt, the Clerk of the Peace was 
to fit up the hall at the College for the Great Sessions of the County. In 1779, twenty guineas were 
paid to Thomas Longfellow, innkeeper, for the use of the College Hall for four Sessions, so the work 
may then have been in progress ; and as in the same year John Williams was paid thirty-five 
shillings for repairing windows of the hall during the time the Great Sessions were there held, it 
may be concluded that the work was then completed and the Justices back in their old Court. 

In the autumn of 1778, it was decided to rebuild the County Gaol and house of correction. 
The plans and estimates were prepared by Mr Andrew Maund, and a contractor advertised for in 
the Hereford and Gloucester Journals (no Brecon paper being then in existence), apparently without 
success, as in January of the following year the building of the new gaol near Tan-all Bridge was 
undertaken by Mr Maund for £500 and the old gaol, which was conveyed to him. The work was 
to be finished by September. 1780. The work was duly completed, and in May. 1781, the prisoners 
were moved into the new Gaol. 


The deficiencies of the old Gaol seem to have given rise to great laxity of discipline. In 1709, 
Rees Davies, confined for several felonies and burglaries, was in " great danger of his life from the 
other prisoners of the said gaol," and in consequence removed to other custody. Even in the new 
building the arrangements were very different from those which would have been tolerated a century 
later. In 1785 it was ordered that the iron frames be taken down from the walls of the gaol, put 
up for public sale, and that the money arising therefrom be laid out in purchasing strong iron chains 
for fixing to the bedsteads in the cells of the gaol for the bettor securing the prisoners at night. 
In 1775 it is curious to notice that a woman, Mrs Magdalen Williams, acted as gaoler. 


Criminal sentences continued to be entirely out of harmony with the sentiments which prevail 
in the 19th century. Assaults were common, but were leniently treated, the common entry being 
"the parties having made up matters, the defendant was discharged <>n payment of a sixpence tine." 
Vagrancy was more seriously dealt with; '"James Tompkyns, a vagrant, is ordered to be whipped 
and carried to the next county on his way to Ledbury." Flogging was still the ordinary punish- 
ment for larceny, the sentences culminating in ferocious brutality during the Epiphany Sessions, 
1787, when it was ordered 'that David Howell he whipped at the cart's tail, to receive sixty 
lashes, and one minute to expire between even' lash, on Saturday next at noon day before the 
Shire Hall, and to be confined to hard labour in the house of correction for twelve months, and to 
be whipped in like manner the Saturday se'nnight before the expiration of his confinement." It 
should lie noted that the first whipping was on January 13, when he was in the depth of winter 
to be kept naked in the street and tortured for an hour ! David Charles was awarded a like punish- 
ment, except that he was to be whipped the Saturday before and after David Howell. .Margaret 
Thomas was to be publicly whipped in like manner on Saturday three weeks, with a like term of 
imprisonment. Joan Richards was to lie publicly whipped on Saturday month, to he confined to 
hard labour for twelve months, and to be whipped again the Saturday month before the expiration 
of her sentence. Elizabeth Hughes was sent to hard labour for six months, and to be publicly 
whipped the Saturday before her release. By a careful arrangement of dates it is managed that in 
this one batch of cases this disgusting spectacle was given to the people of Brecon on eight several 


market-days within a period of twelve months. Perhaps some feeling of commisseration crept into the 
heart of the executioner, for on one occasion he was enjoined that the criminal who had been con- 
demned for a paltry theft was to be whipped for half an hour " until his back be bloody." At 
the Easter Sessions immediately following the bloody assize just quoted, Anne Stole, convicted of 
stealing a surplice, was condemned to be transported for seven years to one of His Majesty's Settle- 
ments abroad. Esther, the wife of John Jones, for stealing a sheepskin ; Magdalen, wife of Randal 
Lewis, for stealing mutton ; and David Lewis, for stealing a ploughshare, were each and all of them 
sent from their kin into slavery in like manner ! " That it may please Thee to bless and keep the 
magistrates, giving them grace to execute justice We beseech Thee to hear us — Good Lord! " 

RECORDS op QUARTER SESSIONS.— Vol. 5 : 1787—1815. 

During the earlier years of the period contained in this Volume savage punishments were still, 
though not so frequently, inflicted. Joseph Towers, for an act of vagrancy, was flogged in gaol, 
and passed to the town of Howdon in Yorkshire. Richard Rees, for larceny, was flogged at the 
cart's tail, receiving 60 strokes with the cat o'nine tails ; this is the first notice in the Records of 
such an instrument" Daniel James for pretending to exercise conjuration, was to be imprisoned for 
twelve months, and within that time was to stand four times for an hour in the pillory before the 
Shire Hall. At the same Sessions, Jane Griffiths, for petty larceny, was condemned to solitary con- 
finement with hard labour for a term of three years (a punishment so severe that it is now never 
inflicted, as endangering life). All these sentences were in 1787-8-9 ; but the people of Brecon were 
no longer treated "to the brutal spectacle of women publicly flogged, and the occasions on which 
they were sentenced to private whipping in gaol were now comparatively few. The mode of providing 
for the safety of prisoners was by chaining together. Mr Thomas Powell, ironmonger, was ordered 
to send to Birmingham for twelve' handcuffs for the use of the gaol, and to make a large iron chain 
to link the prisoners together upon occasion ; another worker in iron was bidden to make six pairs 
of irons for the gaol. Transportation was still an ordinary punishment. The convict's destination 
was, however, settled by the King in Council, not it is feared out of any consideration for the 
unfortunate offenders, but becauser on the revolt of the American Colonies, convict establishments 
in America were no longer available. Margaret Jenkins was sentenced at Brecon in 1795 to seven 
years' transportation to" Botany Bay (discovered in 1770 by Captain Cook), where Commodore 
Phillips, on the American revolt in 1787, had been commissioned to form a penal settlement. Finding 
on his arrival that the locality was ill suited for the purpose, the Commodore removed northwards 
towards the site of the present city of Sydney, Australia, transportation to which Colony was 
abolished in 1840. 


Transportation was an expensive punishment, and we gather from the Records that Thomas 
Longfellow, the innkeeper, was paid £37 10s. Od. for his coach; the gaoler presented a bill for 
£26 13s. Od. for expenses on the road, and a further £2 10s. Od. for firearms to guard them. 
Such reasons, and the increasing difficulty of transportation, may have caused the justices to seek 
other modes for disposing of the prisoners. In 1790 the Clerk of the Peace is ordered to write 
to the regulating Captain at Haverfordwest informing him that there are now in the gaol 
four able bodied men fit to serve His Majesty (presumably in the Navy). Prison discipline was 
still unsatisfactory, and we find that in 1791* the grate of the outer door of the gaol is stopped 
up because the prisoners are abusive to travellers passing by. Some years later, in 1805, the 
gaol was presented by the Grand Jury as insecure, and a wall was erected to surround the gaol 
and the courts thereof. More care than aforetime was taken for the prisoners, and in 1812 Visiting 
Justices were appointed, apparently for the first time, and orders now and again appear on the 
Records as to improved diet for them, and an entry, where thirty horse loads of coal were ordered 
lui- their use during the inclemency of the weather, indicates the difficulties of transit before the 
days of canal and railroad. 

The times being dealt with were exciting, for 1789 is the date of the French Revolution. 
Nelson's victory on the Nile was in 1798. Malta was acquired by conquest in the following year. 
In 1804 Buonaparte became Emperor of the French; in 1805 Nelson fell at Trafalgar, and the wars 
against Buonaparte lasted from 1803 till the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The glare of battle shone 
even so far as Brecon, and may account for the letter, already quoted, addressed to the Captain at 
Haverfordwest. The duty of supplying men fur the Navy had been thrown upon the counties and 
parishes; and in 1795 the Justices ordered that eight able bodied men be forthwith raised to supply 
the deficiencies of men directed by Parliament to be enrolled. The sum of twenty guineas was 
to be paid to each Volunteer out of the two hundred and twenty-three pounds then in the 


hands of the Treasurer, being the amount of the fines paid by the several parish officers under the 
said Act. A similar obligation had by Act of Parliament been laid on the parishes to supply Militia 
men, and in 1803, now that we were at war with Buonaparte, the law was strictly enforced. Twelve 
pounds were paid to the churchwardens of Traianglas who had provided a man to serve as a private 
in place of David Watkins, promoted to be corporal. Other parishes received similar sums, which 
however did not amount to half the money usually paid for a. substitute. Tho Militia was far from 
popular. Some of our men had enlisted in Anstruther's Regiment, as they thought under a guarantee 
that they were not to serve out of Britain, hut they had been sent abroad ; but the county deter- 
mined that this was not to happen again, if it were possible to prevent it. 


Twenty pounds were levied on the parish of Llanfair in Builth for one private deficient for the 
said parish; on Llanafan the same: £40 on the parish of Llanwrthwl ; £20 on Maesmynis, on Llan- 
wrtvd, and Tyrabot ; £40 on Llangammarch, which was two men short. Other amounts in the 
hundred of Builth. Similar sums in the hundreds of Pencelly and Devynock, Talgarth, Crickhowell, 
Merlhyr, and Brecon. These orders are repeated again and again for many Sessions, and every 
parish in the county was repeatedly fined- a very grievous burden. But this was not all. The 
traders" carts were impressed for the carriage of baggage for the various regiments marching through the 
county: the Renfrew Militia from Builth to Llandovery, and on through Brecon to Abergavenny; 
the East Middlesex through the county via Brecon to Crickhowell; the Pembroke Militia from 
Brecon to Llandovery. The customary rate varied from sixpence to one shilling for carts of different 
sizes ; hut on account of the high prices of hay and oats, which had risen to war rates, an additional 
charge of 2d. to 4d. was allowed, the higher allowance being for a waggon with four horses, or a 
wain with six oxen, or four oxen and two horses, incidentally we learn from these Records that a 
cart drawn by four horses would carry only fifteen hundred weight, from which may be guessed the 
state of the roads, and perhaps the size of the horses in use in the county in 1815. 


The improvement in county bridges goes on steadily, and we find that Usk Bridge was reported 
as far too narrow and imcommodious for travellers. In the spring of 1793, Thomas Edwards 
undertakes its improvement for £1,000, which the Justices considered fair; ultimately two small 
arches are added on the Llanfaes approach to render the ascent easier. A smith's shop near the 
west end of the bridge was removed, because it prevented the water running under the new arches, 
the smith, Richard Balcot by name, being compensated with four guineas. Edwards, as part of his 
contract, undertook to keep the bridge in repair for seven years, and in 1801 the bridge was again 
sadly in need of repair. Edwards was dead, and his widow raised a doubt whether the seven years 
had not ended also; but she finally pays £ I ~>< » to conclude the contract. She appears to have been 
a shrewd lady, as the Justices at the next Sessions gave the contract to John Maund for £42.'!. 
Crickhowell Bridge was widened and repaired in 1809, at a cost, including assumed maintenance for ■ 
seven years, of £2,300, the work being undertaken by Mr Benjamin .lames, of Llangattock. The 
bridge had been destroyed by a great flood during the previous winter, and a temporary bridge 
erected. To complete the account of County Buildings during this period it should he noted that 
in 1813 Hay lock-up was built, and in the following year the old lock-up at Crickhowell. 

During the eighteenth centun the Government made strenuous efforts to promote the cultivation 
of flax. They were not successful, and in 17s7 there were but 28 acres under cultivation throughout 
the whole of Wales. From 17ss onwards the experiment was tried on some farms in the neighbour- 
hood of Hay. Mr Thomas Lloyd, flax-dresser, of Hay, exhibited his claim to the bounty on flax as 
provided by several Acts of Parliament : he received £9, which was duly refunded to the county 
from Imperial sources. The industry extended to Glasbury and Llaneheu, both in the neighbourhood 
of Hay. Entries were made till 1795, when the industry may have died out. 


Friendly Societies commenced in the middle of the 17th century. They did not become general 
until an Act of Parliament in 179:! recognised their existence and provided encouragements in various 
ways. The benefits offered were readily accepted by the Societies, and the vast number which 
speedily became enrolled, showed that the Act supplied a real want. These Societies were generally 
held in public houses, good fellowship being perhaps as notable a feature as the desire for provident 
assurance in sickness and old age. In the year following the passing of the Act, there were approved 
by the Court of Quarter Sessions the rules of a Friendly Society of tradesmen and others intended 
to be established at the Plough and Harrow in the borough ol Talgarth, for the mutual relict oi 
sick members, and a duplicate was lodged with the Clerk of the Peace. Four Societies were 


established at Brecon, and one at Builth ; and they soon became general throughout the county. 
Among them were at least three female provident societies at Coed Cymmer, Talgarth, Ystrad- 
gunlais, and Brecon ; and from the title of one, " The Cock and Hen," in which Lady Morgan of 
Ruperra House interested herself, it would appear there were also benefit societies open to males 
and females. 


On Oct. 20, 1789, the Cambrian No. 542 Lodge of Freemasons was formed at the Swan Hotel 
in Brecon, and was enrolled on the records of the County. Theophilus Jones, the historian, was the 
first installed Master, and he held this office for several years. In the Minute hook of the Lodge 
(very neatly copied from an old book into a new one by J. D. Perrott, Esq., J. P.. of Aberystwith, 
who was at the time Secretary of the Lodge), there are blanks between April 23, 1804 and August 16, 1813, 
(when the Lodge bears the number 451 since March 19, 1792) ; 18th March, 1816 and March 12, 1819, when 
the Minutes of 1816 were confirmed, "the Worshipful Master not having summoned us to attend 
since that time; on 19th Sept., 1819, the number of the Lodge was 510. In 1855 the Brecknock 
Lodge No. 936 was established, the first meeting being held at the Castle Hotel, Brecon, on July 28. 
Subsequent meetings were held at the Swan, and the members subsequently built a lodge room 
adjoining the Castle Hotel and continued to hold meetings there until the alterations to the Castle 
buildings in 1895-6, when the Lodge was removed to Ruperra House in Wheat Street. Since December 
1863 the Lodge has borne the number 651. At this time, 1900, there are about 50 members of the 
Brecknock Lodge, and the Lodges at Builth and Hay are off-shoots from the old Lodge at Brecknock. 


In 1791 the Nonconformist bodies appeared to have gathered strength. Besides private houses 
licensed for worship we now read of " Chapels " in the Records, and Ehenezer at Builth was licensed 
in that year : and two years later a building called the Chapel near Hay turnpike was licensed. In 
1808, the following curious entry is to be found in the Records : " Ordered that David Evans be 
appointed preacher of the Baptists Meeting House in the Watergate in the town of Brecon ; it 
appearing to the Court no other preacher officiating in it at this time." In 1813 the Court ordered 
a list to be made of dissenting ministers licensed since the year 1790, and the Meeting Houses for 
which they were appointed, a document which might have historical interest if still in existence. 

In the matter of County administration it should be noted that the Records state that in 
1797, Blaen Glyn Tawr was separated from Devynock ; and in 1804 from Llanspyddyd are detached 
the hamlets of Penpont and Modrydd. 


The revival of the iron trade during the 19th century has been the largest factor in the 
increased prosperity of the County of Brecknock. Its effects have spread far beyond the ironworkers 
themselves. High wages and an increased population have created demand for agricultural produce, 
and have necessitated the building of new towns, while the railway system, the original cause of the 
awakened industry, now adds to the comforts of life all through the county, and conveys thousands 
of visitors to the watering places of Builth, Llangammarch, and Llanwrtyd, towns always 
noted for their healing springs, but aforetime only approachable with difficulty. The prosperity, 
thus diffused throughout the county, is most notable in those southern parishes within the immediate 
vicinity of the iron and coal industries. 

Lower Ystradgunlais had in 1801 a population ofj 709 persons. During the century this has 
increased five times and stands in 1891 at 3,752 souls ; Penderyn has doubled (from 730 to 1433) ; 
Vaynor has trebled, from 1063 to 3,057. Between 1801 and 1861 the population of Llangattock 
multiplied five times, from 1046 to 5759. The parish then included the town of Beaufort and part 
of Brynmawr ; while Llanelly, the only remaining parish immediately affected by the trade, multiplied 
within the same period ten times, from a population of 937 at the commencement of the century 
to 9603 in the year 1861. 

Little mention is made of the iron trade by Theophilus Jones. A furnace was erected at 
Hirwain in 1758 by Messrs. Mayberry and Wilkins. It was used for the purpose of smelting iron, 
charcoal I icing first used, and afterwards coal, the blast being supplied by a water wheel. About 
1806 Messrs. Bonzer, Overton, and Oliver, who were then the proprietors, erected forges, a rolling 
mill, and a second furnace with a steam engine to supply the blast, and in 1809 they could turn 
out 100 tons of bar iron per week. The forges were partly supplied with pig iron from Aberdare 


and Abemant. The mines raised by the Hirwaun Company were held under a long lease from the 
Marquis of Bute. These works afterwards became the property of Mr. Crawshay of Cyfarthfa 


Richard Crawshay. known as the Iron King, was the son of William Crawshay of Normanton. 
He was at the beginning of the 19th century carrying on the iron of works of Cyfarthfa. His sister 
Susannah had married John Bailey of Wenham Priory. Suffolk. Richard Crawshay died on Juno 
27th, lxio, leaving four children. William (afterwards of Caversham); Anne (who married in 1798 
Mr. T. Franklen of Llanfihangel. < danmrgan) : another daughter (who married a gentleman not 
connected with this district); and Charlotte (wife of Benjamin Hall of Hensall Castle. Glamorgan 
whose son was afterwards created a Baronet and finally Baron Hanover, and whose daughter is now 
the Hon. Mrs. Herberl of Llanover. Richard Crawshay connected with himself in business his son 
William, his son-in-law Benjamin Hall, and his nephew Joseph Bailey (son of his sister Susannah 
and John Bailey). On the death of the Iron King in 1811, he left the iron works at Cyfarthfa to 
his three above named relations. Shortly after, the partners separated, Cyfarthfa remaining with the 
Crawshay family, in whose occupation it has remained until the present day, the head of the family 
being William Crawshay, Esq., D.L., J. P., of Caversham Park, Reading, and Cyfarthfa Castle, Vaynor, 
the former being his residence. 


Mr. Joseph Bailey took his brother Crawshay Bailey into partnership and entered upon the 
works of Nantyglo in the immediate neighbourhood of the County of Brecknock. These works were 
carried on l>v Joseph Bailey and Joseph Bailey, junior, of Easton Court, with varying but on the 
whole with great success until the death of Sir Joseph Bailey (who had been made a baronet). After his 
decease in L858 they were continued by the surviving brother Crawshay Bailey and Mr. Henry 
I'.ii!,-, until 1870, when they were sold to a limited company under the style of the Xantyglo and 
Blaina Iron and Coal Company. The Company have not continued the manufacture of iron, and 
have leased the coal to sub-tenents. The concern seems still to prosper, as the shares, with £62 
paid, command a price of £1)5 in the market. 

Beaufort Iron Works were founded by Jonathan Kendall and his brother Edward in 1779 
with a 99 years' lease from the Duke of Beaufort of all the minerals in the parishes of Llangattock 
and Llanelfy. They erected a furnace in Llangattock upon the borders of Monmouth, and called 
the place Beaufort, though the poor folk call it "Kendall" to this day. Mr. Joseph Latham 
joined the Kendalls as partner with one sixteenth share of the works. Jonathan Kendall died 
June 23, 1810, aged 39. In the year 179s a second furnace was built, and soon after a forge. 
Jonathan Kendal "married the aunt of Mr. W. H. West, to whom the writer is indebted for this 
information. On the death of Edward Kendall, the the works became the property of his son Edward 
of Danypark ; he married the widow of Mr. Bevan of Glanant, and her son by her first marriage 
succeeded -Mr. Latham as manager of Beaufort. The works at Beaufort were sold to Messrs. .1. and 
C. Bailey of Xantyglo. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph Bailey and Mr. Bevan the younger, each married 
a daughter of Mr. Joseph Latham. 


In 1793 Messrs. Kendal sub-leased the minerals in Llanelly parish to Messrs. Frere, Cooke 
and Co. Of the family of Frere. and horn at Great House, Llanelly. was Sir Baltic Frere. one of 
the great Indian administrators of the 19th Century, and of whose career some notes appear, 
elsewhere in this work. The Llanelly works had been established on a small scale perhaps as early 
as L600 by John or Richard Hanbury, son or grandson of the first Hanbury of Pontypool. The 
works of 1806 would manufacture about 100 tons of iron weekly and employed about 400 hands. 
The firm had then become Frere, Cooke, & Powell, and the brothers John and Launcelot Powell 
continued the works until the concern was wound up in the year 1861. Mr. Launcelot Powell 
resided at Brecon for many years, and died there at the age of 79, on the 4th of December, lss.4 ; 
he lies buried in the Brecon Cemetery. 


The works of Xantyglo and Beaufort, after passing into the hands of Messrs. J. and C. Bailey, 
gradually assumed very large proportions. in 184.3 the railway system of England came into being, 
and the' large iron properties in South Wales, where iron, coal, and lime were in close proximity, 
were well equipped for taking advantage of the moment, and for a time the iron trade was developed 
with marvellous rapidity. After the making of British railways, there followed the American, and 
companies in other parts of the world had to come to South Wales for the vast quantity of rails 
which had suddenly become a necessity. At Xantyglo and Beaufort were 5,000 acres of surface 


property : 530 houses stood on the ground of the firm. There were 12 blast furnaces, seven at 
Nantyglo and five at Beaufort, with a full equipment of forges, rolling mills, and refineries. The 
minerals cropped out at the surface and could in places lie dug out as potatoes from a garden ; 
all could be reached by means of shallow pits varying from 40 to 200 yards in depth. Twelve 
seams of coal were worked, having a combined depth of 40 feet of mineral ; and under the property 
was an estimated quantity of 150 million tons of coal, two veins being of the finest steam coal. 
The iron stone was in quantity unlimited. 

Two private railways connected the works with the Great Western and the London and Nortli 
Western systems, while a third, eight miles in length, brought lime stone (necessarv in the manu- 
facture) from the quarries at Llangattock. Eleven hundred tons of coal were raised in a day, and 
68,000 tons of iron manufactured in a year. .Wove and underground were 300 miles of rail and 
tram road. There were shipping wharves at Newport connected by the works by a private railway, 
since replaced by the London and North Western Company. All the engineering works had been 
designed and carried out by members of the firm. At the sale of the works in 1870 it was necessary 
to procure a private Act of Parliament to enable arrangements to be made at the termination of 
the lease with the Marquess of Abergavenny, a time too remote for living man to see. 

A description of one iron works, to the records of which the writer has had access, is here 
given. Similar details of Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Rhymney, Dowlais, and Cyfarthfa, must be left 
to the imagination of the reader. The records of the iron trade have nearly all passed away, though 
the whole history is contained within the limits of one hundred years. Iron has given place to steel, 
and instead of the iron dug from our native hills, the ironmasters of to-day use the ore imported 
from foreign lands. 


William Crashaw of Woodhouse, co. York, married 22 Sept., 1706. Susannah Wandsworth, of 
Normanton, co. York (she married secondly 1723 Jonathan Ibbotson). William Crashaw was buried 
6 June 1720. He had issue, 

1. John Crashaw, bapt. 10 Sept., 1707, buried 12 Dec. 1707. 

2. Richard Crashay, bapt. 6 Feb., 1709, buried 3 Feb.. 1722. 

3. William Crawshay, (of Normanton, co. York), bapt. 17 May, 1713. 

4. Elizabeth Crawshay, bapt. 17 May, 1713, buried 3 Feb.. 1722. 

William Crawshay, who succeeded his father, married 29 June, 173S Elizabeth Nicholson, dau. of 
Obadiah Nicholson, of Normanton, (bapt. 14 July 1714, died 2 April 1744); and had issue : 

1. Richard Crawshay, born at Normanton 1739. 

2. John Crawshay, bapt. 6 April, 1743, died in infancy. 

3. William Crawshay, horn 1744, died in infancy. 

4. Susannah, who married John Bailey (died 1813), and had among other issue, 

1. Crawshay Bailey. 

2. Joseph Bailey, bapt. 9 March, 1783, married, 1st Oct. Id, 1810, Maria Latham 

(fourth daughter of Joseph Latham) and 2ndly Mary Anne Hopper (by whom 
he had a daughter Bertha, mar. 1855 Alexander Spearman Young and died 1800). 
(For further details of Joseph Bailey, see the Glanusk pedigree, and Parlia- 
mentary History.) 

5. Elizabeth Crawshay, born 1747, who married — Thompson. 

0. Sarah, who married — Moser. 

Richard Crawshay, of Cyfarthfa House, Glamorgan, in his youth came to London and was 
employed in the City in the cast-iron business of a Mr. Becklewith, who afterwards assignee] it to 
him. In 1765 lie carried on business at 3 Crane Stairs. Thames Street. London, E.C., under the 
style of Richard Crawshay & Co.. and 1772 as Richard Crawshay, ironmaster, at 3, Bull Wharf Lane, 
Queenhithe, London, E.C. In 1780 he founded Cyfarthfa Iron Works. At his death, being sole 
owner, he bequeathed them as follows, to his son William a three-eighth share, his son-in-law Benjamin 

Hall a three-eighth share, and to his nephew Joseph Bailey a two-eighth share. He married Mary , 

(born 1745, died 1811), and dying on 27th June, 1810, was buried at Llandaff Cathedral. He had issue, 

1. William, born 1764, of Stoke Newington, married Elizabeth Cousens (born 1760, died 

1825). He Mas owner of Cyfarthfa Works (by bequest, and purchase from J. Bailey 
and Benjamin Hall.) 

2. Anne, who married Thomas Franklen (died 23 Feb., 1831) and by him had (beside others) issue, 

1 II. Franklen (of Clemenston. co. Clam.), born 1801, marr. 3rd Feb. 1830 Isabella 
Catherine, daughter of Thomas Mansel Talbot (she died 1874, aged 69) and he 
died 1883, aged 82. By this marriage, there were, among others, 

The Crawshay ironmaster? 



Bnni I7 6 4 . Died 1S34. 




1. Ch. Rd. Franklen, who married Hilda, dan. of A. I). Berrington, of 

Pantygoitre, Mon., and had issue a dan. Hilda Evelyn Gwendoline 
(born I s'.ii'). 

2. T. H. Mansel Franklen. who mar. Florence, daughter of Thomas Allen, 

of Freestone. Pembroke. 

3. Elizabeth, who married Win. Thomas Williams. 

4. Charlotte, married 16 Dee. 1801, Benjamin Hall, having — 

1. Other issue. 

2. Benjamin Hall, born 1802, created a baronet 1S38, made a Peer (taking the 
title of Lord Llanover) in 1859. lie was lord lieutenant of Monmouthshire. 
He married 4 He.-. 1823, Augusta Waddington, of Llanover, and he died 
27th April, I*ii7. He had (beside other issue), 

I. Augusta Charlotte Elizabeth, who married, 12th Nov. 1846, John Arthur 
Herbert of Llanarth, and lias with others, issue — 

1. Ivor John Caradoc (Bart.) of Llanartli Court, Col. in Grenadier 
Guards, -M.I', for one of the .Monmouthshire divisions 1907, 
Created a baronet 1908; married 30th July, 1*73, Hon. 
Albertina Agnes Mary daughter of Albert first Lord Londes- 
borough, and has issue (1. Elidyr John Bernard, B.A., King's 
Coll. Camb., horn 13 Jan. lssi ; 2. Fflorens Mary Ursula). 

2. Arthur James (Sir) K.C.V.O., horn 1855, in the Diplomatic 
Service, married 1892 Helen Louise, daughter and co-heiress 
of the late William Gammell, of Rhode Island, U.S.A.. and 
has issue John Arthur, horn 1895. Sir Arthur is M.A., Oxon, 
and D.L. Co. Mon. 

William Crawshay died 11 August, 1834. He left issue, 

1. Richard Crawshay, of Ottershaw Park, co. Surrey (born 1st Sept, 1786, married 1808, 
died 1859). He married Mary Homfray, daughter of Francis Homfray, The Hyde, co. 
Stafford (born 17S0. died 1863.) He had issue— 

1. Mary, married Rev. William Smith and left issue 11 children. 

2. Richard ('.. married Maria Elinor Fair, and left issue (1) Richard Crawshay, 
horn 1862 (formerly Inniskillins, now B. So. African Co.) ; (2) Ceo. Alfred C. 
(Rev.) of Melton Mowbray (horn 1864); (3) Frederick William C. (horn 1866), 
Bedford Regt. ; (4) Lionel Routledge C. (horn isfis). 

3. Laura, who married Francis Crawshav. 

4. .Line, married J. Thos. Tallent, M.R.GS. of Wingham, co. Norfolk ; he died 1877. 

">. Charles C. of Hingham, marr. Elizabeth Maria Jane Cubitt, dau. of P.. Cubbitt, 
Bolton, C.E., and had issue 

1. Lucy, marr. F. W. Bush of Hanworth, Middlesex. They had 7 children. 

2. Charles Edward C, horn 1862, marr. Mareella Mildred Thompson. 

3. Emily Jane. 

4. Gertrude Mary Matilda. 

5. Walter Cubitt C. horn 1865, marr. 1S93 Constance Esther Francis, dau. 
of Major T. C. Briggs. 

0. Caroline, marr. Rev. W. Frost, and left ti children. 

7. Frederick Crawshay, of Sole. Norfolk, horn ls]s. mar. 1S59, Eliza, widow of 
Capt. .1. C. Remmington. R. Bengal Army, and had issue Richard Wood ('.. 
.1 I'., co. Norfolk, (horn 1860, mar. 1891 Augusta Jane Boddam, dau. of General 
Boddam, Royal Bengal Army.) 

8. Clara, mar. Rev. B. Smith. 1861 : he died ls7(>. 

9. Matilda (twin with 10) mar. F. J. Cant. 

1(1. Edward C. (twin with 9) of Clauston, Leicester, who marr. Marion dau. of 
William Proudfoot of Toronto, and had issue (1) Geoffrey Stratford C. horn IS63, 
solicitor, who marr. 1 s<il Edith Alice, dan. of \\. A. Robinson, solicitor (they had 
a daughter, Mvfanwv Illtwyd). and (2) Silvia. 

11. Emily, mar. 1846, Francis Wiston Bradshaw, and left issue. 

12. Julia marr. F. S. Cole, and left i>sue Julia (mar. 1876— Sloconibe, by whom 
she had issue J. Grace S.. E. Ernest C. S.. and A. Yere). She married secondly 
A. K. May bury. 


2. William Crawshay, of Caversham Park. Oxfordshire, and Oyfartha Castle, mar. 1st, 2nd, 

3rd, 1828 Elizabeth Homfray, dau. of Francis Homfray, The Hyde, co. Stafford, by 
whom lie had issue, 

1. Eliza born 1809 (died 18S6) ; by her marriage in 1832 with the Rev. G. Thomas 
of Ystrad Mynach, Clam. (d. I860), she had issue (1) Jane, born 18.34, died 
unm. 18(31; (2) Eliza, born 1835, died unm. 1864; (3) Catharine, born 1837, 
died 1875, she married H. Martyn Kennard and had issue, Martyn Th. Kennard 
(born 1859) and Mary Elise (ni. 1881 A. W. Leatham, and has issue) (4) Geo. 
W. G. Thomas, born 1843 (d. 18S5), mar. 1864 Ellen Kennard, and left issue 
6 children. 

2. Francis Crawshay of Broadbourne Hall, Kent, born 1811, (died 1878), mar. 1837 
Laura Crawshay (see Richard Ceawshay). They had issue, 

1. William G, of Southampton, born 1841, mar. 1869, Julia Annie Allen, and 
had issue. William 0. (born 1871), mar. 1892, — Tenkins. 

2. Laura Julia, horn 1844, mar. 1862 T. Rowland Fothergill of Taff Vale 
Iron-works, and has issue. 

3. Isabel Eliza, born 1845, died 1876 ; m. 1862 Geo. Fothergill, and has issue. 

4. Richard G, born 1847, died 1848. 

5. Francis Richard G, m. Isabel Hutton Vignoles, and had issue Francis Gwillim 

Crawshay (born 1876) and Laura Gwenllian. 

6. Tudor C, of Bonvilston, Glam. (born 1850) mar. 1877 Marie Augusta Hester 

Ayres, and had issue Owen Tudor Richard G (born 1878) and Mervyn C. 

7. Helen Christine, m. 1873 Fred Wilmer Clarke, and has issue. 

8. Mar,y Stella, m. 1S72 Thomas Alworth, and has issue. 

9. De Barri G, born 1857, mar 1878 Rose Mary Young and has issue Lionel 
H. de Barri C (born 1882) and Raymond Vaughan Edwin de Barri G 
(born 1885). 

3. Edwin (twin with Henry G) died in infancy. 

4. Henry C. of Oaklands, died 1879, married Eliza, and had issue, 

1. Henry C. died unm. 

2. Edwin G, horn 1838, married Charlotte Hole, and had issue Henry G 
(horn 1873) and other issue. 

3. William G of Riverdale, mar. 1S71 Alice Maria Gordon dimming, killed in 

the hunting field, and left a son Henry James G, born 1875. 

4. Herbert Henry G, born 1859, died 1S92, mar. 1S80 Maria G Daniel and 
left issue three daughters. 

5. Eliza Lucretia, mar. G J. Hall, The Broole, Abergavenny, (2ndly Cousins, 
3rdly Whale). 

6. Sarah Louise (a twin with No. 5.), married William Batt, of Cae Kenfig, 

7. Agnes, married J. Dennis and has issue. 

8. Emily, married 1857 John Heyworth, and has issue. 

9. Alice', mar. 1st Alfred Sterry, 2nd Ernest Jerdein. 

10. Isabel, died unm. 

11. Catherine Hermione, mar. K. A. A. B. Creagh, of Creagh Castle, co. Cork. 

12. Constance. 

13. Eva Juliette, mar. Hervey Arthur Talbot, and secondly Capt Fen wick. 

3. Eliza, born 1790, died June 1. 1S77. s.p., mar. Rev. Aug. Clissold. 

4. Mary, born 1793. died L881, s.p., mar. Capt. F. Wood, Life Guards, of The Sheet, Ludlow. 

5. George Crawshay (see next page.) 

William Crawshay married 2ndly Isabel Thompson, dau. of James Thompson, Lord Mayor, director 
of the Bank' of England, M'.P., &c, and by her had issue, 

1. Isabel, born and died I sill. 

2. Robeet Thompson Crawshay of Cyfarthfa, born 1817 (died 1879), he married 1846 

Rose Mary Yeates (deceased) and had issue, 

1. William Thompson Crawshay, of Caversham and of Cyfarthfa Castle, 

D.L. & J. P., born 1847, married 1870 Florentia Maria Wood, daughter of Col. 
Wood of Southall, co. Glam. 

2. Rose Harriet Thompson, married A. J. Williams, and has issue two sons. 


•">. Henrietta Louise, mar. W. Crawshay Ralston (by whom she had three sons). 2ndly 
Harvey Spiller, Major Hants Regt., decreased (by whom she had two daughters). 

4. Robert Thompson Crawshay, horn 1855, of Cyfartlifa and of Rome, married 
Mary, dau. of Sir John Leslie, and has one son. Jack. 

5. Richard Frederic C. of Tymawr, co. Brecknock, born 1859, married L880, 
Tempe Isabella Oakes, and has issue. 

1. Tempe Rose, horn 1881. 

2. Richard Oakes ('i:\wsiiay. horn 1882. 

3. Leila, horn L885. 

I. Rhona, born 1888. 

3. Isabel, horn 1818 (died 1842) married, 1838, Gerald Ralston, and had issue, 

1. William ( 'raw shay Ralston, horn 1840, died 1878, married Henrietta Louise 
Crawshay (died 1883), and left issue 

1. \V. R. Crawshay Ralston, of Pontywall, Brecknock (born L872). 

2. Gerald Crawshay Ralston, horn IS73. 

3. T. Crawshay Ralston, horn |s7ii. 

2. G. E. Ralston, born 1842, died 1844. 

4. Agnes, born 1820, died Is.",:',, married .Tames Dolphin, Capt. R. Brigade, left issue 5 children. 

5. Amelia, marr. 1844 T, Eraser Sandeman, Capt. 42nd Highlanders, and had issue, of whom 

Robert Preston Sandeman (Capt. loth Hussars), horn 1852, married L884, Jessy Crawshay 
of Danypark, co. Brecknock. 

6. Jessy of Danypark, horn 1822, (died 1889), mar. 1849 Alfred Crawshay, Capt. 17th 

Lancers, horn 1*23. died L864 ; they had issue 

1. Alfred Thompson Crawshay, horn 1850, married 1872 .Mary Augusta Mathew 
Cornish, and had issue .Madeline Isabel Flora Louisa. 

2. Codrington Eraser Crawshay, horn 1S51, married Issl Emily Howard Cartland, 
Priory, King's Heath, and had issue Codrington Howard Pees Crawshay (born 
1882), Alfred William Eraser Crawshay (horn 1884), Geoffrey Cartland Hugh 
Crawshay (horn 1892). 

3. Isabel Mary, married 1878, Hugh Backhouse Church, Col. 24th Regt. 

4. Jessy (see Sandeman), married R. P. Sandeman. 

5. Willoughby Sit well Crawshay, died 1891. 

7. Annette, born and died 1824. 

8. James, born and died 1826 (twin). 

9. Annette, born 1820, married Capt. Parland and left issue. 

William Crawshay married thirdly Isabella Johnson, and had issue Sarah Louise who died unmarried. 
5. George Crawshay of Gateshead, horn 17t»4 (died IS78) married 1818 Josephe Louise 
Dufaud, of Fonchambault, France (born 1802, died 1883), and had issue 

1. Louise Constance, mar. 1st F. W. Stanley, 2ndly Rev. J. Graham, and had 

issue by both. 

2. George C, married Elizabeth, dau. of Sir John Fife, and had issue. 

3. Alfred Crawshay, married Jessy Crawshay (for issue see Jessy C.) 

4. Juliet, born 1824, died Is77, married 1848 James Sinclair and has issue. 

5. Edmund C, Bensham Hall, co. Durham, horn ls2(i. mar. 1st, IS59, Mary Jane 
Matthison, by whom he has issue, and 2ndly 1886 Susannah Weslie. 

6. Herbert C, Stormer Hall, Hereford, born 1830, mar. 1859 Mary Lewis, and has 


And five others. 



Records of Quarter Sessions (continued).— Vol. 6 : 1815 to 1826; Vol. 7. 1827—1838; Vol. 8, 1838—1849;— 
Joint Counties Lunatic Asylum at Abergavenny. — Records of Quarter Sessions, Vol. 9, 1850—1856 ; Vol. 10, 
1856—1866; Vol. 11, 1866—1874. 

THE sixth volume of the Records of Quarter Sessions covers twelve years from 1815 to 1826, 
It was the custom of the Court to adjourn from month to month, even when there was no 
business to transact, and this adjournment was usually to the second Wednesday in the month. 
It should be noted that this was the day of the monthly agricultural dinner, and we wonder what 
connection, if any, there was between the two events, and whether the work of the Justices was 
finished by two p.m., the dinner hour. 

Justice had now assumed the more merciful form, which, happily, prevails at the present time. 
Visiting justices were appointed at each Session, not annually as lias since been the custom. To 
modern ears it reads oddly that each just ice on qualifying subscribed a declaration against the 
doctrine of Transubstantiation ! The chief business of Sessions was rating appeals. In the days 
before Union chargeability a perpetual warfare went on between the various parishes as to the 
removal of paupers. An Act had been passed, too, for the relief of insolvent debtors having lain in 
prison for a certain time, and for a debt of small amount they may be discharged on application 
made to the Court. 

Prison discipline continued to engage attention, a classified return of all prisoners being made 
to the Secretary of State in 1820, and an engineer sent to Haverfordwest to report on the Gaol of 
that town ; in consequence a tread wheel was erected in Brecon at a cost of £180. The Borough 
shared with the County in this Gaol, and agreed to pay one-tenth of the cost of all improvements. 
It had been further enacted by Parliament that for the future no woman was to be keeper of any 
prison in which male prisoners were confined ; so Mrs. Mary Gillins, gaoler, receives her dismissal, 
and William Gillins was appointed in Iter stead, which reads as if the dismissal had been made easy 
for the lady. 

In 1K22, to diminish the expenditure on prosecutions a County Solicitor was appointed at a 
fixed salary to conduct prosecutions, an office which was continued with intermissions until the 
appointment of the County Council in 1SS8, when the office was abolished. 


An Act had been passed to prevent " Fraudulent and Occasional Votes in the Election of 
Knights of the Shire so far as relates to the right of voting by virtue of an annuity or rent charge," 
and there were about the year 181(5 memorials bearing date (say) the 15th of March instant whereby 
David Lloyd (let us say) "grants, bargains, and sells" to John Thomas of the town of Brecon "one 
annuity or yearly rent-charge of two pounds and ten shillings for the natural life of the said David 
Lloyd, &c. &c." This presentment was made presumably to show that the rent-charge was not 
"occasional," and let us hope not fraudulent, though as they were all for a similar amount, there 
can be little doubt that they were made for the construction of what were called " faggot votes," 
a practice which continued until a recent Reform Act enacted that no rent-charge created after a 
date now past shall confer the franchise unless the rent-charge was obtained by inheritance. 

We learn from these Records, incidentally, that in 1826 the price of hay in Brecon was £5 a 
ton, and oats 4s. a bushel. 

Applications for Amendments to the Rules of Friendly Societies had in 1816 become so frequent, 
that they were referred to the visiting justices. A set of pattern rules was drawn up, though not 
till ten years later, amongst which rules was one restricting Friendly Societies from holding their 
meetings in public houses. Neighbouring counties showed " little on no " disposition to adopt the 
rule, which thus became nugatory, and was abandoned. 

Improvements to the Hall, for the accommodation of the Justices of Great Sessions were 
considered necessary, but the Corporation of Brecon thought the arrangements fully adequate, and the 
alterations were not made. These Great Sessions, instituted by King Henry VIII., took in Wales 
the place of Assize until they were abolished in 1830 (1st Will. IV. Cap. 70). 


Tn 1820, Mr. E. Morgan, of Llangattock Place, retired from the office of Chairman of Quarter 
Sessions through ill-health, a derision much regretted by his colleagues, who. as a mark of their 
esteem, ordered that when able to attend at Sessions he should sit at the right of the Chairman. 
Henry Allen. Esq, attorney general for this circuit, was elected chairman. 

By an Act of Parliament 55 Ceo. :?. Ch. It. the Great Foresl of Brecknock was allotted and 
enclosed. The accounts of the Commissioners were audited by the Court of Quarter Sessions. 


A general Act of Parliament, under which county bridges have been since managed, was passed 
in the year 1803 [43 Geo. III., c 58). The inhabitants of counties had been aforetime hound to repair 
the public bridges known as county bridges and the roads at each end for limited distances, but the 
laws were defective and doubts had arisen how far the inhabitants were liable to improve bridges 
not sufficiently commodious for the public; therefore power was given to the Surveyor of Bridges 
appointed by Quarter Sessions, to search for and take gravel, stone, sand, and other materials, to 
which list was subsequently added stone in quarries, for the repair of bridges and the roads of their 
approaches, making due satisfaction for damage the said Surveyor might do. The principal Act gave 
powers to widen and improve a bridge and to make it more commodious for the public, and where a 
county bridge was in such decay as to make rebuilding necessary, then it was made lawful for the 
justices to order it to he rebuilt, either on the old site or on any new one more convenient to the 
public within two hundred yards of the former one ; subsidiary powers were also given to purchase 
lands and buildings, and for other matters. 

The fifth section 'declared what bridges to be erected after the passing of the principal Act, 
that is subsequent to the year 1803, the counties were liable to maintain, and it was enacted that 
"no bridge hereafter to be erected by any individual should be deemed a county bridge unless such 
bridge was erected in a substantial and commodious manner, under the direction or to the satisfaction 
of the County Surveyor. A subsequent Act made powers of obtaining materials compulsory, and gave 
further powers, but it is beyond our present purpose. 

In the county of Brecon it remained the custom, even after the passing of these Acts of 
Parliament, for the inhabitants of the several hundreds, parishes, and districts within the county, 
l>v reason of prescription, usage, or from some other cause, to repair at their own expense the 
bridges situated within their districts, notwithstanding that the bridges had become of great public 
utility. Doubts had arisen as to the liability to repair these bridges. Some perhaps had been built 

alter' I so:!, had not been erected by the County Surveyor, were perhaps of w 1 and by no means 

substantial, and it was desirable that all bridges of public utility within the county should be kept 
in more perfect repair: therefore in the year L821 it was enacted that, notwithstanding any law or 
custom to the contrary, all bridges of public utility which are situated within the county of Brecon 
shall be deemed to be county bridges, and that all inhabitants of the county shall for ever here- 
after be liable to the repairs of the bridges and of the roads at the ends thereof, save ami except 
that all bridges to be built after the passing of this Act, that is to say, after the 28th May, L821, 
must be built to the satisfaction of the County Surveyor as was laid down in the general Act. 

Another section extended the powers of altering the site of building, whereas by the law 
already quoted no bridge could be removed more than one hundred yards from its former site, it 
was enacted for the county of Brecon that, where such bridge was composed of timber, or built 
on insufficient foundations, it should be lawful for the justices to direct the same to be taken down 
and a bridge to hi' built instead thereof on any new site within live hundred yards of the former 

This statement of legislation is necessary for the understanding of the Records of Quarter 
Sessions. The local Act was the only one of the kind ever passed : the county had represented to 
Parliament that they were at great expenditure with reference to their bridges. Every little valley 
had its river or brook, and there were continual claims on the county, so the justices thought it 
expedient to obtain the local Act. The course of proceeding under it was: An application from 
the inhabitants of a district stating that their bridge was in bad repair, and that it was one of great 
public utility; that application was laid before tiie Justices at Quarter Sessions, and they directed 
the Surveyor to examine the bridge, and upon his report and the certificate of two Justices, the 
bridge, if of public utility and built prior to L821, was placed under the An as a county bridge. 
In giving evidence in 1S44. twenty-three years after the passing of the Act, John Jones, Esq., chair- 
man of Quarter Sessions, told the Commissioners in the South Wales Enquiry that the Act had not 
been attended with so much expense as had been expected, and that the Act was found beneficial 
and useful. The practice with reference to the building of new bridges was to build wherever there 


was a bridge insufficient for its purpose. In this county it often happened that carriages had to 
pass brooks by means of a " sort of wooden bridge ' ' that was always getting into bad repair ; in 
these cases, when the Surveyor reported upon a good site for building a stone bridge, the old 
bridge was removed and a stone one built. A mere horse or foot-bridge had never been allowed 
to be thrown upon the county. Under the section, by throwing upon the county 100 yards of road 
at each end of the bridge, there was added to the liability of Brecknockshire eleven miles of turnpike 
(main) roads and thirteen miles on parish roads — twenty-four miles in all. There were in 1844 one 
hundred and thirteen county bridges on turnpike (main) roads and ninety-eight on the parish roads 
— in all two hundred and eleven. In 1893 the county bridges had further increased in number to 
two hundred and forty- two. 

" The seventh volume covers the time from 1827, the seventh year of George IV. to 1838, the 
first year of Queen Victoria (this is in duplicate and the paging here given is consequently incorrect 
so far as one copy is concerned). Hay. in 1827, was £5 per ton and oats 4s per bushel ; an addition 
of fourpence in the shilling was therefore allowed on the price of carriages impressed within the 
County of Brecon for His Majesty's forces on the march, Later in the year prices again rise, hay 
being £6 per ton and oats 5s per bushel. Ten years later, in 1837, coal was delivered in Brecon at 
16s per ton. In the year 1830, the term for which the Militia armoury had been taken had expired, 
and the storage was reported insufficient ; a house was found in the town of Brecon, near the Priory 
Bridge, which would suit the purpose, and it was rented at the yearly cost of £20. 


In 1831 riots occurred at Merthyr, and the peace of Breconshire was threatened, The Court 
of Quarter Sessions called out the pensioners, Militia, and special constables, for the security of the 
arms ; the expense was apportioned between county and borough. At the same time the prisoners 
in the gaol became turbulent and unruly and the Justices interdicted the offenders from seeing their 
friends weekly as had aforetime been the custom. Discipline in the gaol seems to have been lax, 
for in 1833 two prisoners escaped, and alterations in the structure became necessary ; the expense 
being apportioned by the county paying nine-tenths and the borough one-tenth. In 1815 a Mrs. 
Collinson had left a legacy in favour of the county gaol for the benefit of discharged prisoners ; 
and reference to the matter will be found in that portion of this work dealing with charities. 


The central arch of the New Bridge over Wye having been carried away by flood, negotiations 
of permanent interest took place defining the responsibility of either county. A committee of justices 
from each county met. but Radnor desiring that the matter be referred to counsel, the Court of 
Quarter Sessions of Brecknock decided that there was no necessity for a case, as that county was 
ready to repair their part of the bridge namely, the three arches on the Breconshire side and half 
the central arch, being the whole of their liability. A proposal was made, apparently on behalf of 
Brecknock, that Radnor should contract to do the work, which seems to have fallen through, as in 
October 1832, William Jones was paid one hundred and fifty-three pounds for rebuidling that part 
of the bridge over the Wye which Breconshire was liable to repair. 

Where a bridge is of one arch, it is clear that an arrangement between two counties for 
mutual repair is convenient, so in 1834, when a bridge at Cam ynys Minton, repairable by Brecknock 
and Glamorgan, was destroyed by flood, it was rebuilt with stone at the joint expense of the two 
counties. The weak wooden bridges still caused much trouble and expense, and in 1833 Gwenllian 
and Haffis bridges were reported as swept away by floods, and were rebuilt at considerable cost ; 
Llwynfell bridge was also rebuilt. Tarrell bridge in 183s had been rebuilt, the Surveyor being sent 
to Biggs Weir on the Wye to view the bridge there and to ascertain if a similar structure might 
serve. The bridge was rebuilt at a cost exceeding £600, the contractor to keep it in repair, as 
usual, for seven years ; in 1830 the County Treasurer was ordered to lay out at interest £125 due to 
Job Thomas, to lie paid to him on certificate that the bridge was complete. Two years later Job 
Thomas applied for his money, and the Court decreed that neither the money nor the interest could 
be paid until the bridge had been kept in repair for seven years ; a somewhat high-handed pro- 
ceeding, and so the Justices thought, on re-consideration, as in 1833 Job Thomas duly received his 
money. The same year, 1833, a wooden bridge was built over the Irvon at Llangammarch, which 
seems a retrograde step. 


A lock-up house was ordered to be built, in 1832, at Builth, and a magistrates' room was also 
erected, partly by private subscription. In 1816 a toll house had been purchased for a site ; this 


was now exchanged with Mr E. D. Thomas for a more suitable site on his land, and the building 
was to be erected, costing the county £125, in addition to private subscriptions. 

The formation of a " mountain police " is suggested by Lord Melbourne, Secretary of State, 
and a date was fixed for its discussion, but no more seems to have been heard of this force. The 
pour rate must have been well-nigh unbearable : the rate in Talgarth parish in 1834 reached 8s in 
the pound. The inhabitants appealed and were granted relief. The maladministration of the Poor 
Law had led to a Commission of Inquiry in IS32, the result of which was laid before Parliament 
in 1S34. and the Poor Law Amendment Act was passed. The Justices of the county assured the 
Government of their co-operation. This Act grouped parishes into Unions, and brought about the 
system of government which was endured until it was partially superseded in 1894, when the functions 
of the Guardians were taken up by District Councils. In the autumn of 1836, Brecknock was divided 
into Unions, but curiously enough n" record of what must have been a matter of prime importance 
is found in the Records of Quarter Sessions. With the exception of the central Union of Brecknock, 
and Crickhowell, every Union transgressed the border of the county, the neighbourhood of market 
towns being formed into a Union without reference to county boundaries. This fact led to great 
complications in subsequent legislation. 


In 1836 the question of employing a public prosecutor was first taken into consideration. 
The matter may not at that time have been ripe, and the proposal was not adopted. Legislation 
as to prisons had been promised by the Government, pending which prison rules were arranged by the 
Justices, and a silent system was adopted in 1836. The previous year an Act had been passed under 
which the county authorities received, and still receive, half the cost of prosecutions and of the con- 
veyance of prisoners. Discipline remained very lax in the gaol ; prisoners and convicts had again 
escaped, and the keeper of the House of Correction is discharged from his office for gross and culpable 
negligence. Mr John Lazenby was appointed to succeed him. and held the office until the prisons 
were taken over by the Government. In 1836 the Borough of Brecon ceased to have a separate 
Court of Quarter Sessions, whereby the repair of bridges within the borough, and the maintenance of 
the borough prisoners, became a charge upon the county ; a rate, therefore, at the same rate per 
pound as the county rate was levied on the borough. Two years afterwards the county entered 
into a contract with the borough enabling the Corporation to use the County Gaol for debtor 
prisoners as well as for criminals, who were already received. 


In 1837 the polling places of the county were deemed insufficient, there being only one, that 
is to say, Brecon ; which, to modern ears, sounds very insufficient indeed. In a petition to the Crown 
on the subject, the Justices thought it necessary to argue the question laboriously : " The length of 
the county is fifty miles, the population 47,800, therefore your petitioners pray, etc." Devynock, 
Hay, Talgarth, Crickhowell, and Builth are made polling stations; the county is divided into districts, 
and the order is confirmed by the King's most excellent Majesty. Before it was enrolled the King 
had passed away, and Proclamation had been made of 


as Queen of these realms. She died in 1901, having reigned for 64 years. 

RECORDS of QUARTER SESSIONS.— Vol. 8 : 1838—1849. 

It is scarcely necessary to }:>ursue j n detail the improvement of county bridges ; being of stone, 
improvements had become more costly. For instance, in 1838, Tringarth is rebuilt at a cost of £135 ; 
the Honddu bridge at Watergate cost £214, merely to repair. The River Grwyne had been in flood, 
and as doubts as to liability to repair have from time to time arisen, it may be well to note that 
in 1839 the three bridges, Llangenny. Millbrook, and Llangrwyne, were repaired at the county's 
expense. In 1848 the question fin- contracting lor the repairs of parapets and bridges approaches 
were considered. Those in the county of Brecon, on the main road from Carmarthenshire to Mon- 
mouthshire, are tendered for at £13 9s Od for one year, which the Justices accepted. A more impor- 
tant question is that of bridges between neighbouring authorities. The Black Lion bridge at Hay 
had been erected at the equal expense of the counties of Brecon and Hereford. In 1839 repairs were 
necessary, and the Clerk of the Peace wrote to the official at Hereford that this county would not 
bear more than half the charge. The obvious rule is that the county responsibility ends with the 
middle of the river: it may occasionally be convenient to divide the expense, ami that is a matter 
of convenience to be met when it arises. 


In 1845 trouble arose as to Glasbury bridge. The hamlet of Glasbury south of the Wye 


then formed part of the county of Radnor. The Brecknock Surveyor, having received a letter from 
the Surveyor of Radnor suggesting that they should meet and mark off the division of the bridge 
to the respective counties, was instructed to reply that no part of the bridge belonged to the county 
of Brecknock. The Justices of Radnor thereupon ordered their Surveyor to indict the inhabitants 
of Brecknock for the non-repair of so much of Glasbury bridge as lay (according to such order) 
within their county. Brecknock prepared a case for the opinion of counsel, and in 1*47 ordered 
the Clerk of the Peace to take the necessary steps for defending an action. The question seems 
to have remained in abeyance for some time, as in 1849 it was still under discussion whether the 
trial should take place at Hereford or at Carmarthen. At this point the volume ends, and leaves 
us in doubt as to how the dispute was concluded. 


In the year 1839 Hugh Bold, Esq., retired from the office of Chairman of Quarter Sessions 
through failing health, and the Lord Lieutenant was "respectfully requested" to continue to act as 
chairman. In 1840 Mr J. Jones became chairman. The same year a letter was received from the 
Secretary of State requesting the opinion of the Justices as to the propriety of establishing a general 
constabulary force. The Court thought that for this county it was not necessary. In 1828 an Act 
[9 Geo. 3, c. 437] had been passed for the better regulation of divisions in counties. Under its 
provisions the Justices in 1839 formed a new petty sessional division consisting of Ystradgunlais and 
Ystradvellty ; these parishes were therefore " disannexed " from Devynock, and were henceforth to 
form the district of Ystradgunlais, that being the name of the principal parish within the division. 
In the following year, 1840, Glyntawe was added to the Ystradgunlais petty sessional division, and 
it was arranged that a lock-up should be built. In 1843 a lock-up was also built at Crickhowell 
on land leased from the Duke of Beaufort ; which has now yielded to a freehold structure. In 1841, 
the parish of Gwenddwr (Trawscoed excepted) was removed from the petty sessional division of 
Talgarth, and joined to that of Builth. In 1843 the Justices appointed a county public prosecutor 
for one year at a salary of £50, an office which continued until 1888, when the system was aban- 
doned, although it was generally thought to have been a very useful institution. 


' ' At the end of this volume (written the reverse way) is the award in the matter of the Great 
Forest of Brecon : the King's allotment, 13,860 acres ; 17,106 for commonage ; 292 for tythe allot- 
ments ; 7,567 acres sale allotments to various persons ; a piece of land containing 540 acres was also 
allotted to be sold in case the money in hand was insufficient for the expenses — otherwise one moiety 
thereof to the Crown and the other to the commoners. There is also the county rate basis as settled 
in 1851, the rateable value being then £171,132 ; a list of the Rolls in the press in the Grand Jury 
Room ; a list of Friendly Societies with the dates of their rules ; a list of parishes and places within 
the county of Brecknock ; and the Rules and Regulations for the government of the gaol. 


In consequence of the gaol being unhealthy, and inadequate for the safe custody of prisoners, 
escape having been effected in one instance and other attempts having been made, it was in 1838 
deemed expedient to erect a new gaol. A committee was formed to whom also was referred the 
erection of a new County Hall on a site contiguous to the gaol ; difficulties, however, arose, and the 
Shire Hall was built elsewhere. In 1841 the gaol question was still undecided, and the mode of 
warming was reported as ' ' cruelly inefficient ' ' during inclement weather ; some little structural 
alterations were carried out and a supply of coals carried in. The question of rebuilding was re- 
vived, and a close of land between the Castle and the Priory was chosen as a suitable site. At 
Easter, 1842, no further steps having been taken, the Secretary of State wrote expressing a hope 
that means may be adopted to remedy the coldness of the gaol without waiting for the completion 
of a model prison ; the Justices, thereupon, somewhat reluctantly, purchased a hot-water apparatus 
for £39. Four years later, in 1846, the Secretary of State was still pressing the matter, and a com- 
mittee was formed to confer with the Superintendent, and plans were consequently laid before the 
Justices for enlargement on the same site. 

By this time the turnpike roads had been purchased by the County ; the Shire Hall had just 
been completed ; a lunatic asylum was projected ; the Court therefore approves the Gaol plans, but 
adds, " owing to the heavy calls upon the funds of this county now existing, and the additional 
demand upon the County rate for the repairs of the turnpike roads, as well as the uncertainty of 
legislation as to the expense of building prisons, it would be desirable to memoriahse the Secretary 


of State for further delay ; " and so, after eight years of consideration, the whole matter was 
consigned to limbo. 


In 1838 the Justices were impressed with the insufficiency of the Shire Hall for Assizes and 
County meetings, and with the peculiar tenure under which the same was then held by the County 
(being held, we think, in common with the borough). They viewed several sites, and decided that 
the best situation was a garden in Glamorgan Street in the occupation of Henry Lucas, Esq., M.D., 
and the property of Henry Allen, Esq. The agreed value of the land was £740, but as the building 
proceeded it was found necessary to purchase from Mrs. Williams, of Ihiffrvn. a house and stable 
adjoining the hall to improve the approaches, at a cost of £288 7s. 4d., and also to acquire another 
plot of ground from Henry Allen, Esq., for £50, with £100 to be spent in buildings ; altogether, 
therefore, the cost of the site seems to have been £1,238 or thereabouts. The Committee accepted 
a plan of design of Grecian architecture by Messrs. Wvatt and Brandon ; umking plans and 
specifications were prepared by August 1839, and tenders advertised for. The size and shape 
being determined, the greatest consideration was given by the Committee to every detail; they made 
thirteen elaborate reports, and met at least twenty-seven times. A builder's tender was accepted 
for £6,248, and at the Midsummer Sessions it was agreed to raise a loan of £8,000. The Exchequer 
Office had not funds at their disposal, and the Equitable Assurance Co., to whom application was 
made for a loan on the security of the County Hate, replied that " the office does not lend money 
on such security." It was therefore determined to raise the money within the county, in sums of 
£1,000 bearing interest at £5 per cent, per annum, and repayable as it would seem generally by ten 
equal annual instalments. Miss Anne Latham, of Crickhowell. advanced £1,000; Mr. William Dyke £800; 
Mr. John Powell, Clerk of the Peace, £2,000; and apparently in 1842 a further £2,000; and perhaps 
at Epiphany 1843 another £1.300; Miss Latham added £800; making in all £8,900. The contractor 
delivered his bill for extras beyond his contract for £2,576, and the Architect's charges came to 
£508, and so another £1,400 was raised. The work was practically completed before the year 1843 
was out, thereby showing that buildings could be executed with rapidity when their worships were 
so minded. The total cost of the Hall cannot readily be established from these Records, but Mr. 
Powell, in his evidence before the Welsh Commission in 1844, gave further information, from which 
we learn that the loan was raised under a general Act of Parliament, and was secured by a mortgage 
upon the County rate ; and having been incurred at different times repayment was spread over 14 
years, so that it was not felt, and did not become burdensome to the county. The total cost of 
the Hall, as given by Mr. Powell, was £11,000. 


In a succeeding chapter we shall give a description of the roads of the county up to the middle of the 
18th century, and describe the efforts put forward by the Breconshire Agricultural Society for their 
improvement. The 1707 Act of Parliament, passed to widen and repair the principal roads in the 
county, set up the system of tolls, and gates and toll-houses were erected, and £10,000 borrowed 
on the security of the tolls for road improvements. For some years the stage coach ran only to 
Brecon, but after the turnpike road was finished the journey was extended to Carmarthen, and in 
1805 a coach was running to Milford from London five times in the week ; the route being through 
Gloucester, Monmouth, Abergavenny, and Brecon. Waggons were established for the carriage of 
heavy goods, and "bustle and activity" appeared to prevail; and in the streets near the St. Mary's 
Church at Brecon are still to be seen the enormous warehouses erected for the reception of the goods 
brought into the borough by North's waggons. 

In the year 1830, a second local Act was passed consolidating the main roads of Brecknock 
into one trust, under a. single Surveyor. The roads were, however, divided into several districts, 
the tolls being applied exclusively to the service of the road on which they wore levied. Under 
the powers of this Act, a new road was made through the Cwmdu Valley, from Nant y fin, the 
boundary of Crickhowell parish, to Talgarth. A sum amounting in all to £8,600, was advanced, 
chiefly by Mr. Hotclikis. for the formation of this road; as there appeared no reasonable prospect 
of re-payment, the road was practically managed for his benefit. There were at one time two 
toll-gates upon it, which let for £180 a year. The repairs were executed by the parishes through 
which the road passed, one of a. class of grievance which led to the riots of 1842. and to a measure 
passed shortly after, named the South Welsh Turnpike Roads Act. Under that measure the road 
was purchased by the County and the turnpike gates removed. 

About 1830 the road was constructed from Porthmawr to Crickhowell bridge, still known as 
" the new road," and on to Llangynidir and so towards Brecon ; the money to form it being 
advanced by Mr. Hotchkis, Mr. Stretton, and Mr. de Winton of Maesderwen. 


The road leading from Abergavenny to Tredegar passes six miles and six furlongs through the 
County of Brecknock; it was made under an Act dealing with the approaches to Abergavenny, and 
until the expiration of the Abergavenny Trust in the year 1885, did not form portion of the main 
roads under the Brecknock Trust. This road ascending the mountain from Lower Llanelly to 
Brynmawr. was engineered by the late Mr. Henry Bailey. It rises 1,000 feet in four miles, and Mr 
Bailey informed the writer 'that the gradients were in excess of what they need have been, his 
instructions being to pass the doors of various houses. On the expiration of the Trust, this road 
became a highway of the parishes through which it passed. Two local Acts were passed aoout 
1886-87, under which, with the exception of the portion in the Brynmawr and Ebbw Vale Urban 
districts, it became portion of the Brecknock main roads. [t is now (1899) repaired by the County 

In the year 1842, widely extended disturbances, not connected with any political cause, took 
place throughout South Wales. The excitement was stimulated by local grievances, and gradually 
led to aggressions of an extensive and systematic kind. The chief grounds of complaint were the 
mismanagement of funds applicable to turnpike roads, the frequency and amount of the payment 
of tolls, the vexatious conduct of toll collectors, and illegal demands made by them. Other grievances 
contributed to the discontent. The unequal distribution of tithe-rent-charge, the large salaries to 
poor law officials, the fees to magistrates clerks, and the progressive increase of rates, all added to 
the public uneasiness. A further' cause may have been agricultural depression. A succession of 
wet and unproductive harvests had reduced tile capital of the farmers. They had been forced during 
a series of years to buy bread for their families, and the money obtained by the sale of farm produce 
scarcely enabled them to meet the Various payments for which they were liable. 

The resistance to the payment- of tolls, and the destruction of turnpike gates, began in the 
Whitland Trust, on the confines of Pembroke and Carmarthen. This trust had been established in 
1791 ; the Act was subsequently renewed, and several parish roads were then included which had not 
been named in the original Act. One at least of these roads continued to be maintained as a parish 
road, when suddenly the trustees resolved to place turnpike gates at each end of it. In the year 
1839 some people from England intimated that if certain new gates were erected they would farm 
the tolls at a higher rate than that which had previously been obtained. Four new gates were 
erected ; but the country people, thinking it wrong that the trustees should take tolls where they 
had incurred no expenditure, assembled in the midst of summer, at about six o'clock in the afternoon, 
and those gates were pulled down amidst much noise and great jollity, and without the interference 
of anybody. The trustees gave notice of their intention to re-erect the gates, but at a meeting held 
for the purpose, the magistrates for the county attended, and decided by a large majority, that the 
gates should not be re-erected. That which happened on the Whitland Trust occurred in a greater 
or less degree in every other trust in Carmarthenshire, in part of Pembrokeshire, and in the South 
district of Cardiganshire. 

The Main Trust ran east and west from Breconshire through Carmarthen into the county of 
Pembroke. In 1824 it was thought advisable to improve this road that the mails might be 
accelerated between London and Waterford. Mr. Telford was employed by the Government to survey 
the road ; the improvements were more costly than was expected. They seem, however, to have 
been confined to the County of Carmarthen. 

Regarding the Brecknock Trust, it should be observed that the system which had been adopted 
in Brecknock for the management of the turnpike roads differed essentially from that which prevailed 
in any other county of South Wales. One Act of Parliament had been passed in 1830 for the whole 
county; by its provisions the roads were divided into 19 different districts. The Act contained 
provision for creating new branch roads by enabling the trustees to erect toll gates on newly con- 
structed roads, charging the interest and capital of money borrowed for the improvement, upon the 
tolls arising from that road only. In this manner it was prevented from becoming an incumbrance 
on the tolls of the older roads ; under these powers two new roads had been made as has been 
already described. 

The general Brecknock Trust (apart from the Cwmdu road) contained in 1843, 183 miles of road, 
on which were 33 gates and bars. On the 13th of September, 1848, the Trustees ordered nine to be 
discontinued. As several of these were liars, at which little money was received, the reduction of 
annual receipts was not expected to exceed £200. The whole amount of money received from toll 
gates in 1843 was £6,470. The Act of Parliament required that the tolls collected in each of the 
19 districts should be laid out on the roads within its limits. The whole amount was first put 
together into one fund, out of which was paid the interest of debt (the debt being £39,741); £500 
was set aside as a sinking fund ; the remainder was laid out on the roads in the district in which 


it had been collected. Some of the districts were so unproductive that the Trustees, acting under 
counsel's opinion, charged the main line of road with the expenses and salaries of officials. 

Tn Brecknockshire, only one gate was destroyed by rioters. The turnpike roads here were 
maintained by money arising out of the tolls; the farmers were not called upon to repair the roads, 
and the complaint, frequent in the other counties of South Wales, of having not only to pay tolls, 
but also to maintain the roads, was not heard in Brecknock. The tolls were very high, being ltd 
for a horse drawing a carriage, (id. for a cart, and 2d. lor a saddle horse. The horses employed 
in South Wales at that time were small and weak, and the carts they drew incapable of containing 
a heavy load. A toll of sixpence on every such horse when drawing would, if tested by comparison 
of weight and power, be equal to nearly double the amount when collected on teams employed in 
the neighbouring English counties. 

The South Wales Commission reported on the lith of March. 1S44. and a second Commission was 
sent to assess the various claims against the Trusts. On the amounts being ascertained, the Public 
Works Loan Commissioners advanced the money as a loan to be repaid by an annuity running over 
30 years. The debt on Brecknock was assessed at £41,750, the annuity required for repayment 
being £2,191. 

The South Wales Turnpike Act. which governed the main roads of South Wales until the estab- 
lishment of County Councils in 1888, was passed in 1844. It provided that the Trusts of each 
county should be consolidated into one county trust, under a Committee, to be called the County 
Roads Board, consisting of 12 magistrates appointed by the Court of Quarter Sessions. 12 other 
members, and certain official personages. The general superintendance of the roads was vested in a 
Government officer, who was paid by, and reported annually to. Parliament. The funds of the 
Board were provided (1) by tolls, (2) by statutory labour, that is to say, haulage done without 
remuneration by farmers, (.'?) by a, county road rate, which rate was to be kept separate from the 
county rate, and not to exceed in any year the annuity payable in that year, and, though levied on 
the occupier, it might be deducted by him from the rent payable to the owner; the last condition 
as to repayment being made in consideration of statutory contribution of labour, which might still 
be demanded from the occupier. 

It is obvious that when by effluxion of time the annuity payable to the Public Works Loan 
Commissioners ceased, the power to levy a road rate must cease also. In 1875, then, the .'!<» years 
over which the debt ran being nearly expired, the South Wales Roads Amendment Act was passed, 
enabling a county roads rate to be continued, subject to the proviso that it should in no case 
exceed the maximum amount previously paid in any one year b\ way of annuity to the Public 
Works Loan Commissioners by the county. 

The Court of Quarter Sessions reviewed in 1875 the roads of Brecknock. The turnpike roads 
had shrunk from 183 miles in 1st:!, to 118 miles, with 28 miles (127 yards of bridge approaches, 
certain roads having ceased to be controlled by the county. There were 232 bridges, the repair 
of which was done at county expense, and 1,186 miles of highway other than main roads within 
the county. There were then 23 toll gates within our limits; the produce of the tolls had sunk 
to £2.205, owing probably to the introduction of railways, no roads now retaining their value as 
through lines between county and county which they once possessed. In most instances the railways 
run parallel, and have diverted the through traffic which once passed over the roads. 

In 1888 by the Local Government Act, the South Wales Turnpike Act was practically repealed; 
the road rate could no longer be levied, the County Roads Board ceased to exist, the management 
of the roads passed under the control of the County Council then established, and the English and 
Welsh legislation as to roads was assimilated. 

At the first meeting of the County Roads Board of the County of Brecknock, held 22nd January, 
1845, at the Shire Hall, it was resolved that — "It is expedient hereafter to maintain and] continue 
the following as main roads in this county, namely, 

" 1. The main road commencing from the confines of the county of Carmarthen, and extending 
through the towns of Trecastle and Brecon, thence to Llansaintfread Church, through Criekhowell, 
to the confines of the county of Monmouth, on the road to Abergavenny. 

"2. The road from Brecon by Capel Dyffryn Honddu to Builth. 

"3. The road from tin- Three Cocks through Llyswen to Builth. 

" 4. From Builth to Tavern y pridd. 

''5. The road from Talgarth through Bronllys to Llyswen. 

- (i. The road from Talgarth to Bwlch. 

" 7. The road from the town of Brecon by Pen Cerrig Cochion to join the Brecon and Hay main road. 


" 8. The road from Brecon through Glyn Tarrell to the confines of the county of Glamorgan 
in the direction of Merthyr Tydfil. 

" 9. The road from Brecon through Bronllys to Hay and the confines of the county of Hereford. 

" 10. The road extending from Blaentaff Gate on the Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil road over 
Hirwain Common to join the Glamorganshire turnpike road from Merthyr Tydfil to Neath. 

"11. The road leading from or near Crickhowell bridge to join the turnpike road from Aber- 
gavenny to Rhyd y blew at or near Pentwyn Clydach in the parish of Llanelly." 

Here note that the road from Abergavenny to Rhyd y blew, passing through the town of 
Brynmawr, although for some miles from the Baiden Brook to Rhyd y blew, within the county of 
Brecknock, did not come within the scope of the South Welsh Act, but was constructed under an 
Act to provide approaches to Abergavenny. It was adopted as a main road of Brecknock under a 
local Act of Parliament on the termination of the Abergavenny Trust in the year 189-4. 

At the same time the following, which had previously been main roads, were rejected, and 
discontinued as turnpike roads : — 

1. The road from Pont neath fechan by Ystradfellte to the road leading from Brecon to 
Merthyr Tydfil. 

2. The road from the Pont neath fechan road to the Lloscoed Gate through Defynock to the 
Trecastle and Brecon road, at or near Rhyd y brew. 

3. The road from Capel Dyffryn Honddu over Newbridge on Irfon by Llwynmadoc to Llanfi- 
hangel Abergwessin, thence to the river Towey near Rhydarw to the confines of the county of Cardigan. 

4. The road from Brecon by Battle and Pontfran to Merthyr Cynog. 

5. So much of the road from Talgarth by Porthamal and the Three Cocks through Llyswen as 
extends from Talgarth to Pontithel Bridge. 

6. So much of the road from Builth by Tavern y pridd to Carmarthen as extends from Tavern y 
pridd to the confines of Carmarthen. 

7. Also the road diverging from that last mentioned at or near Maescynffordd to Twyn coch fach. 

8. So much of the road from Talgarth by the Bwlch over the " new " bridge near Llangynidr 
to Rhyd y blew, as extends from a point between Bwleh and Llangynidr to Rhyd y blew (the old 
Beaufort Road). 

9. The road from Derwen y groes over the new bridge near Cefn crossing the Brecon and 
Abergavenny road near the second milestone from Brecon through the village of Llanfihangel- 
talyllyn over Henley Common to join the road from Talgarth to Bwlch, and from Llanfihangel- 
talyllyn to the village of Llangorse, and there joining the turnpike road from Talgarth to Bwlch. 

10. The road from the Brecon and Hay turnpike road by the Tille Llanthomas, Tregoyd, and 
Yelindre, and Gwernivet, to the turnpike road from Talgarth by Portliamel to the Three Cocks. 

11. The road from the Brecon Furnace gate through the village of Llanddew to Garthbrengy 

12. The road extending from the Brecon and Crickhowell main road to Nant y fin. and pro- 
ceeding by Cwmdu Church to Talgarth. 

13. The road from Porthmawr in the town of Crickhowell over Crickhowell Bridge past Glanusk 
Park, through Llangynidr and Talyhont villages to Derwen y groes (Back road to Brecon). 


The Act of Parliament (8 and 9 Vic. c. 126) which rendered compulsory the erection of 
Asylums for Pauper Lunatics within three years became law on the 8th August, 1845. After 
preliminary negotiations, an agreement was entered into on September 13, 1847, between the counties of 
Monmouth, Hereford, Brecknock, Radnor, and the City of Hereford, to form a Union for the erection 
of a joint lunatic asylum. The basis of agreement, amongst other things, was that of every pound 
expended on the erection of the building, Monmouthshire should contribute 8s. 2Jd., Herefordshire 
6s. 4d.. Brecknock 3s 3d., Radnor Is. Old., and the City of Hereford 8d., being in proportion to 
their respective populations. Mr. Thomas Fulljames, of Gloucester, who had recently erected an 
asylum at Denbigh, and hail made additions to that of Gloucester, was appointed architect, a farm, 
called the Lower Farm, lying to the north of Abergavenny, separated from the town by the river 
Kenvy, was purchased for £120 an acre, and other land, about four and a half acres, were purchased 
at the same time. It possessed the advantages of a southern aspect, a cheerful view, close proximity 
to the town, an ample supply of water, and, as events afterwards proved, a railway station with a 
private siding on to the Asylum estate. The building was originally intended to accommodate 210 
patients ; by judicious arrangements it was made to hold 254. The estimate for the building was 
£23,867 ; and the actual cost of the site was £4,584, to which furniture, gas, entrance lodge, cemetery, 


boundary wall, and appointments being added, the total cost proved to be £37,082, or £146 per 
bed. The share of these expenses alloted to Brecknock amounted to £6,025 19s. 9d. Dr. J. ^Steward 
Allen was appointed first medical superintendent, and commenced his duties on September 1, 1851. The 
Asylum immediately filled, and before the presentation of their first report the Committee had already 
contemplated the advisability of further building. The weekly charge for patients was ten shillings. 

During the year 1857 thirteen acres of land were purchased for £1,580. The same year Dr. 
Allen died, and the Visitors recorded their sense of his valuable services and feared that the stress 
of work may have hastened his decease. The number of patients had by that time increased to 
316. In order to meet the emergency, attics in the roof were fitted with beds, making a total 
accommodation for 370 patients. Before the improvement could be carried out, the number of 
patients had in 1858 mounted to 345, and the Committee directed plans to be prepared for an 
enlargement of the Asylum to contain 125 additional patients, which addition was carried out in the 
following year. In 1858, Dr. McCullough, of Edinburgh, was appointed medical superintendent, and 
the weekly charge for each patient was then 7s. 7d. This proved insufficient to defray the expense, 
and in 1860 the charge was raised to 8s. 6d. In I860 the addition to the Asylum, and the Super- 
intendent's house, had been completed at a cost of £7,500. The number of patients had, however, 
made a corresponding increase, partly in consequence of persons above the rank of paupers being 
sent in by the parish officers, with the understanding that their expenses should be repaid the Union 
by their 'relatives. The Asylum at that time would accommodate 466, and there was a margin of 
only 42 unoccupied beds. 

Two years later the number of patients had increased to 485. an emergency which was met 
partly by using the farm buildings mi the estate, and partly by sending 30 patients to board at 
the Worcester Asylum. These patients, however, cost 12s. 6d. per week, 4s. in excess of the charge at 
Abergavenny. The idea of breaking up the Union began now to be entertained, and the great cost 
of building' a new Asylum made the smaller counties, who would probably have to build, strongly 
oppose the policy. Each year, however, the number of patients showed an increase : in 1869 there 
were in the Asylum 511. 'besides 121 boarded out at Dorset, Briton Ferry, Denbigh, and Fisherton. 
So a dissolution of the Union was determined upon, under which agreement it was arranged that 
Hereford County and City should build a fresh asylum, and the other three counties, Monmouth, 
Brecknock, and Radnor, remain in partnership as owners of the original institution. 

It was startling to find that even after the dissolution of this old union, the accommodation 
would be insufficient for the patients of the three counties ; the Visitors accordingly entered into an 
agreement with Hereford to receive in their new Asylum at Credenhill 30 patients, and with Fisherton 
house to receive seventeen. The agreed value of "the Asylum with farm and three cottages, which 
had been recently purchased, was at the dissolution of the original union £56,000. The contributions 
of the new partners were settled as follows : namely, in each pound of expenditure, Monmouth to 
pay 15s. Id., Brecknock 3s. 5d., Radnor Is. 6d. The estimated value of the share of Brecknock 
was £9,566 13s. 4d. A further extension of the Asylum having become necessary, an expenditure 
of £6,400 was authorised by the local authorities, and' an additional building to accommodate 64 male 
patients was commenced in the year 1874. 

In the year 187S the number of patients had again increased, and there were in the Asylum 
523 lunatics, ' and there were 55 boarded out under contract at other asylums. The Monmouthshire 
visitors expressed their strong view that the union of the three counties should come to an end; 
the Brecknock and Radnor members '" Were of opinion that the most economical plan for the 
necessary enlargement would be to erect the additional buildings on a site adjoining the existing 
asylum.'"' After much discussion, plans were prepared for an extensive addition to the accommodation, 
for 100 men and 170 women ; for a new chapel, dining hall, stores, workshops, &c. A tender was 
accepted from Messrs. Horsman to execute the new works for £42,000, exclusive of water storage. 

In the year 1882, died Mr. Bosanquet, who had been chairman of Visitors since the commence- 
ment of the Asylum. In the following year Dr. McCullough retired through ill-health, only surviving 
his retirement a few months. He had' gained a reputation for ability which extended far beyond 
the district with which he had been immediately connected. The result of his exertions in the 
administrative part of the management reduced the weekly cost of maintenance from 10s. Od. to 8s. 
a head, a saving of £4.556 a year. He was succeeded by Dr. Glendinning, who had been second in 
command. The new buildings' provided accommodation for 309 patients, the capacity of the Asylum 
being now raised to 830 beds. The low price of provisions, and the saving incident on the absence 
of necessity for boarding out, enabled the Committee in 1885 to reduce the charge for weekly 
maintenance to 7s. 3id. This year the little mill, with about three acres of land, was adtled to the 
estate at a cost of £1,475 ; this provided extra water rights, and was in many ways a very desirable 


purchase. The Asylum Estate at that time consisted of 76 acres of freehold, together with a leasehold 
farm of 127 acres rented at £150 per annum ; 25 acres was utilised as Asylum site and 22 acres for 
pleasure ground and kitchen garden. The cost of the land had been £11.093; of the buildings 
(including repairs) £124,750 — the total cost having been £135,844. There were 700 patients chargeable 
to the counties, 350 of each sex, and the cost of each patient was £18 12s. 7d. a year, or 7s. Lfd. 
per week. 


Prom the very commencement, of the undertaking it has been seen that the number of patients 
chargeable to the counties had been steadily growing, the increase being chiefly due to the enormous 
growth of the population of Monmouthshire. Several attempts had been made on behalf of that 
county to get rid of Brecknock and Radnor. These tactics were for a long time successfully resisted 
in the interest of the smaller counties, but in the early spring of L890, a .Monmouthshire Councillor, 
Mr. T. Parry, moved a resolution at a meeting of the County Council, " That the time had arrived 
when it was desirable in the interests of Monmouthshire to dissolve with the counties of Brecknock 
and Radnor in the management of the Asylum at Abergavenny, and that the said counties should 
be paid out their share of the capital in the Asylum." He pointed out in a pamphlet that 
dissolution would relieve Monmouthshire of an expenditure of £2.000 a year, and begged the Council 
to look at the matter " from a commercial point of view without having any sentimental regard for 
the interests of Brecknock and Radnor." 

The Abergavenny Asylum was a building admirably adapted to its purpose, built for the 
moderate cost of £149 per bed. Such an Asylum, or one suiting modern requirements, could not be 
built in 1897, the time of dissolution of partnership, for double the money. It is therefore evident 
that the compulsory sale of their property involved the smaller counties in a very serious loss. On 
March 29, 1894, the Visitors of the Asylum settled by a majority (consisting entirely of representatives 
of Monmouthshire) that the dissolution of partnership should take place on December 31, 1890, and 
a further resolution was passed, Brecknock and Radnor dissenting, that the sums to be paid by 
Monmouth to the outgoing counties should be — To Brecknock, £24,452 2s. 8d. ; to Radnor, 
£10,325 lis. 4d. ; being the amounts which those counties had respectively contributed to the existing 
asylum at Abergavenny, together with their contributions to any additional outlay between the date 
of the resolution and the dissolution of partnership, also their share of stock in hand and cash 
balances. This offer was rejected, and the matter in dispute was finally referred by the Secretary of 
State to Mr. A. Birrell, Q.C., M.P. His award was : To the County of Brecknock, £26,359 ; to the 
County of Radnor, £10,080, together with a share of the stock in hand and balances on the day of 
dissolution. These latter were to be divided in the following proportion : Monmouth £8 7s. 8d., 
Brecknock £1 17s. lid. and Radnor 14s. 6d. in every £11 0s. Id. The balances and stock amounted 
to £15,834 2s. 2d., of which Monmouth received £12,062 18s. 10d.,^ Brecknock £2,727 19s. 0d., and 
Radnor £1,043 4s. 4d. The total amount received by the County of, Brecknock was £29,086 19s. 0d., 
subject to an adjustment for pensions. 

Radnorshire under the award, received on a forced sale for the advantage of Monmouthshire, 
a sum actually less than her share of the joint property had originally cost her. Both the smaller 
counties felt themselves treated with undue severity, while Monmouth admitted that the arrangements 
were largely to her advantage and to the disadvantage of the quondam partners. 

This ends the history of the Union between Brecknock and other counties in the management 
of a Joint Lunatic Asylum at Abergavenny. 

RECORDS of QUARTER SESSIONS, Vol. 9: 1850-1856. 

Tliis Volume is the first that has an index attached. 

The Court of Queen's Bench having decided that the County of Brecknock was liable for the 
repair of one half of Glasbury Bridge, at the Midsummer Sessions of 1850, Mr. Rennie, of Newport, 
was requested to report on the best means of restoration ; the bridge was made passable for foot 
passengers, but it fell, so a ferry boat, in charge of a trustworthy man, was placed at the disposal 
of the public. Mr. Rennie was again consulted, and a Committee of Justices was appointed to 
discuss with Radnor the report he had prepared. Radnor, however, declined to meet the Brecknock 
deputation, and called in Mr. Grey, bridge, surveyor, Hereford, as to the Radnor half of the bridge. 
Brecknock proceeded to advertise for tenders for half the bridge, the material to be wood with stone 
piers. The two counties united in building a central pier of stone, the estimate of which was 
£431 2s. 8d. The miserable result of this conflict of opinion was that the bridge erected was a 
structure with stone piers until mid-stream is reached, beyond which it is a wooden bridge resting 
upon trestles of wood. Some difficulty arose as to tenders : Mr. James' offer to construct the 


Brecknock half for £2,585 being finally accepted, but Mr. James abandoned his contract in August, 
1851, and Mr. Wylie undertook to rebuild half the bridge and the central pier for £2,800, so £5,000 
was borrowed for this and other purposes from the National Life Association at a yearly interest 
of £3 18s. 6d. per centum. The County Surveyor was directed to give his exclusive attention to 
the work, and to employ his son to discharge the other duties of his office. 

In the year 1 s 5 l! we find that the parish of Glasbury (south of the Wye) formerly in Radnor, was 
placed within the County of Brecknock. On July 26, 1853, a great flood occurred, the L T sk and 
Wye rising simultaneously: eight county bridges were entirely destroyed and forty-six damaged. 
Immediately action was taken, and funis were constructed until the bridges could be replaced, three 
sums, each of £1,000, being borrowed for the purpose of re-construction. Eight persons perished 
by drowning, and the newspapers of the period contained graphic descriptions of the disaster; and 
in the Illustrated London Neivs there appearei some sketches made by a Mr. Teale of Brecon, a very 
clever draughtsman, of the devastations caused in Brecon. 

In the year 1S54 an important re-arrangement of Petty Sessional divisions was ordered. The Hay 
division was carried out of that of Talgarth: it consisted of Hay. Llanigon, Glynfach, Glasbury, 
Tregoyd, and Felindre. Llanfillo, Llandefaelog-Tregraig with the hamlets of Tredustan and Trefeinon 
(formerly in the Pencelly division) were added to Talgarth. Grwyne-fawr and Grwyne-fechan, then 
hamlets in the parish of Talgarth, but since made into separate parishes, were detached from Talgarth 
and placed within the petty sessional division of Crickhowell. The upper part of St. David's parish, 
till then in Defynock division. Talachddu, Garthbrengy, and Llanddew, all in Pencelly, were placed 
in the Merthyr division, and Llandilo'rfan, formerly in Merthyr, was added to the Defynock division. 

As from time to time prices of agricultural produce became a matter of interest, it may be 
well to note that contract prices in 1850 were : Bread, 41b. loaf. 4}d. ; meat, 5d. per lb. ; oatmeal, 
12s. per cwt. ; potatoes, lis. per rut : coals, per ton delivered, 16s (id. In ls.vs. L854, and 1855, 
the Crimean War was raging, and the corn of Russia no longer reached the markets of England, 
bread therefore which in 1850 had been fourpenee farthing the four pound loaf, more than doubled, 
the price running up to ninepence. Meat, which was not then imported in large quantities, remained 
unaffected ; oatmeal rose to 21s., probably in sympathy with flour. 

In 1851, highway legislation for South Wales was commenced, and an Act was introduced 
by Lord Emlyn and passed entitled "An Act for the better management and control of the South 
Wales highways." The Brecknock Court petitioned against it : " Exceptional legislation for Wales 
was objectionable in principle and prejudicial in practice;" considerable expense must be incurred 
"which in the present distressed stale of agriculture it is most desirable to avoid; the Bill was an 
experiment, let it be tried on Carmarthen, Pembroke, and Cardigan, and not forced on the other 
counties; if the measure prove beneficial, your petitioners assume it will be extended to the whole 
Kingdom, but while it is an experiment the smaller the area the better." But. the Act having passed, 
the County was divided into highway districts. Brecon Borough, inclusive of Christ College and the 
Castle Inn. and exclusive of Llywel, was constituted a district: the districts of Pencelly, Merthyr 
Cynog. and Defynock, were made into one district, an arrangement which strikes the modern mind 
as inconvenient — it was probably adopted to conciliate the dignity of the Borough. Brynmawr was 
made a separate district from Crickhowell. a portion of the parishes of Llangattock and Llanelly 
"as described in the report of G. Thos. Clark. Esq., superintending inspector to the Board of Health, 
dated 22 Sept., 1849" — which, to those who had not a copy of that report, seems a vague definition; 
it pointed darkly to more modern legislation then simmering in the minds of administrators. 
Penderyn, Vaynor, Ystradfellte, Vstradgunlais. with the hamlets of Olyntawe. Xantddu, and Hepste, 
were joined under the name of the Southern district, an arrangement which was afterwards abandoned. 
In all, seven districts were constituted: 1, Brecon; 2, Brynmawr; 3, Builth ; 4, Crickhowell; 5, 
Pencellev. &c. : <>. Southern district ; 7, Talgarth. 

RECORDS of QUARTER SESSION'S, Vol. 10 : 1S56-1S06. 
This Volume contains but little of interest. The conclusion of the Crimean War, the readier 
importation of agricultural produce, and the opening of local railways to Brecon, reduced the 
contract prices of stores for the Gaol. Bread which m L856 stood at 2d. per lb. fell to less than 
three half-pence ; meat was contracted lor at 7d. ; oatmeal fell from 20s. to 15s. the hundred weight : 
while coal, probably owing to cheaper carriage, fell from 16s. to 12s. a ton. In the year !*•"><; was 
passed an Act of Parliament (19 20 Vic. c. till) rendering compulsory the establishment of a County 
police force ; accordingly at the Epiphany Sessions 1857, two superintendents, six sergeants, and 
twenty constables were appointed. Mi'. Edmund Roderick Gwymie was elected chief constable at a 


yearly salary of £250, and at the Michaelmas Sessions the constables were divided into two classes, 
the pay being respectively 19s. and 17s. per week. A superannuation fund was instituted, and at 
Michaelmas 1858 there stood to its credit £131. This and all future sums which might accumulate 
were directed to be invested in the names of two justices as trustees in such public funds and 
Government securities as the said trustees should deem proper. We might here add that Mr. E. R. 
Gwvnne held the office of Chief Constable for the long period of 48 years, resigning in 1905. He 
died at Llanthetty Hall and was buried in the parish churchyard of Llanthetty. He was succeeded 
in the office by Captain W. Morgan Thomas (elder son of the late Morgan Thomas. Esq., J. P., of 
Olyn-Oarth, Brecon). Capt. Thomas had for several years been deputy head-constable at Swansea ; he 
held the Breconshire appointment barely two years, dying after a very brief illness at the age of 42. 
He was buried in the family burial ground in the Brecon Cemetery. Capt. Arthur Stuart Williams 
(a son of the late County Court Judge Owilym Williams) was appointed chief to succeed Capt. Thomas; 
and, having acquired the Pontywall Mansion and estate, resides there. 

At Michaelmas 1857, the Penderyn Petty Sessional division was formed out of the former 
divisions of Defynock and Ystradgunlais ; and at Midsummer in the same year Mr. John Jones, 
Chairman of Quarter Sessions, retired, having held the office for 17 years. In 1865 cattle plague, 
or steppe murrain, originating amongst the herds on the Russian steppes, spread over Europe, and 
was brought by foreign cattle to London. In a brief space it was carried to all parts of England, 
where, after causing frightful losses, it was stamped out by the resolute slaughter of all affected 
animals and of others which had been in contact with them. At the Epiphany Sessions, 1866, the 
Justices of Brecknock deemed it expedient to forbid the removal of all cattle within the county to 
market or fair, and further to decree it unlawful to bring any such animal from any other place into 
the county of Brecknock ; exception being made in favour of fat stock already within the county, 
which it was obviously necessary to send to the butcher for slaughter. At an adjournment the 
prohibition was extended to sheep and swine, and to the introduction of untanned hides, horns, 
hoofs, and offal, and to other articles which, it was feared, might propagate infection. The services 
of veterinary surgeons were secured as inspectors in various districts of the county, and the duty of 
carrying out the orders of the Court was entrusted to a large committee of Justices, to whom were 
subsequently added the names of well-known men of science and large agriculturists. Under the 
guidance of this Committee the Inspectors were ordered to slaughter any animal affected with cattle 
plague, and to bury it in its skin, with at least three bushels of quicklime, in a grave not less than 
six feet in depth. Animals which had been in contact with diseased stock might, with the assent of 
the Committee, be slaughtered, in which case a sum not exceeding £25 would be awarded as 
compensation to the owner. Happily the County remained free from this fearful disease. 

RECORDS of QUARTER SESSIONS, Vol. 11 : 1866-1874. 

The Eleventh Volume covers the period from 1866 to 1S74. The contract prices for necessaries 
at Brecon varied as follows : Coal, which in 1866 cost lis. 6d, per ton, in 1872 rose to 15s. lOd. 
and in 1873-4 stood at 23s. and 24s. per ton, having doubled in price in three years. Bread from 
1866 to 1871 was l|d. per lb. ; it gradually rose and in 1874 cost lfd. Meat, 8d. per lb. in 1866, 
dropped to 6d. in 1870-71, when it rose, the highest price being reached in 1873 at 7id. per lb. ; 
in 1874 it had dropped to 7d. Oatmeal varied in price from 19s. to 20s. per cwt., the average 
being about 20s. 


Coroners, whose duties are now practically confined to holding inquests in case of sudden death, 
have always been elected, and the Coroner is primarily an officer of the county elected by the free- 
holders. J n certain districts the appointment is made by the Crown, or lords holding a charter 
from the Crown. Within the county of Brecknock the Coroner, in the Hundred of Crickhowell, is 
appointed by the Lord of the Manor, His Grace the Duke of Beaufort. In the remainder of the 
County these officers are appointed by the local authority, that is so say, since the year 1888, by 
the County Council. In the year 1844 an Act had been passed (7-8 Vic, cap. 92) empowering the 
Justices of Quarter Sessions, when they should deem it expedient, to petition the Crown praying that 
the county under their control should be divided into districts. Such a petition was resolved on at 
the Michaelmas Sessions, 1866. There were then two Coroners for the County (other than the hundred 
of Crickhowell), but no districts had been assigned to them, and inconvenience had resulted. The 
Justices therefore, having conferred with the Coroners in office, and taken into consideration popula- 
tion, amount of work, &c, petitioned Queen Victoria that the County should be divided into two 
districts, one consisting of the hundred of Defynock including the Petty Sessional divisions of Ystrad- 
gunlais and Penderin, the parishes in the hundred of Pencelly, and the parish of St. David's in the 


Borough of Brecon, to be called the Southern district. The other district was to consist of the 
parishes of St. John and St. Mary in the Borough of Brecon, the hundreds of Builth, Merthyr, and 
Talgarth, including the Petty Sessional districts of Hay. to be called the Northern district. The 
reply does not seem to be recorded, bul the scheme must have been carried out, as the North and 
South divisions, as they still exist at the time of writing, and correctly described in the petition. 

In 1860 an Act had been passed to amend the law relating to the payment of County Coroners. 
There shall be paid to every Coroner, in lieu of tees, mileage, and allowances, such annual salary as 
shall be agreed upon between him and the Justices. In default of agreement the Secretary of State 
for the Home Department was required to fix the salary, having regard to the average fees, the 
number of inquests, and special circumstances. At the end of live years such salary was subject to 
revision. Five years had passed since the last revision, and in 1S71 the Justices, carefully considering 
the facts, assign in each case a salary somewhat in excess of the fees. The division of the County 
having involved one officer in loss, and the others alleging special circumstances, Dr. .lames Williams 
was to have £55 a year, .Mr. 1). W. .1. Thomas £50, and Mr Lewis (Crickhowell) £70, which salaries 
were the same as late as 1899. 


Cattle plague still existed in England, but the precautions taken against it had become a grievous 
burden in Brecknock, and accordingly at Easter, ISiiii, a. resolution was carried that in order to 
facilitate the removal of cattle on change of tenancy, or lor breeding purposes, or on change of 
pasture, for a period of 13 days commencing on the 3rd day of April, any animal may be removed 
from any uninfected district in any adjoining County into this County, or out of this County to 
any other place, with a licence signed by a, justice. A rate of one farthing in the pound was ordered 
to pay for the precautionary measures*; a. similar rate was raised in 1867. In November, 1866, 
application was made to the' Privy Council for permission to hold Cattle .Markets at Builth, Hay, 
Talgarth, and Crickhowell, and the re-opening of the Markets was announced; fairs were to be re- 
opened also. The Secretary of State gave the necessary orders, which orders were renewed from time 
to time, the last entry being at Midsummer. 1868. hi 1S69 a Contagious Diseases Animals' Act was 
passed, under the powers of which the Justices appointed a Committee and a veterinary inspector, 
who was instructed to report quarterly to the Court. In 1872 foot and mouth disease broke out 
amongst the cattle: not so fatal as cattle plague, it Mas nevertheless a most serious scourge. Calves 
that were allowed to suck at the stricken mother died ; those that had been given milk that had 
been boiled survived. Amongst older animals, few deaths took place, hut grave constitutional effects 
followed contagion, and animals once tainted seldom entirely regained a healthy condition. An attempt 
was made to prevent the spread of the disease by instituting strict isolation, but few herds escaped 
the contagion. 


In 1865 an Act had been passed dealing with the discipline of prisons. Thereupon, in January, 
1868, letters had been received from the Secretary of State as to the condition of the County Gaol; 
and the Justices replied that a large portion of the prison was devoted to debtors, that the law was 
likely to be changed as to imprisonment for debt, and that the time for improvement was not con- 
venient. Possibly the Secretary of State took a different view, as at Midsummer the Surveyor was 
instructed to prepare a plan to improve eight female cells according to the directions of the recent 
Act of Parliament. The cells were to be certified by an inspector ; they were to be of such a size, 
and to be lighted, warmed, and fitted up in such a manner as may lie necessary for health. The 
Surveyor reported that he found it impracticable to prepare the plan as ordered. At Epiphany, lsii'.), 
the Justices had taken a larger view of the matter, and offered a premium of £30 for the best plan 
of alterations, including a new governor's house, to meet tin- requirements of the Act of 1865. In 
May a Committee reported that it was necessary to enlarge and improve the Gaol to meet the re- 
quirement of the Act. and the plans of Air. T. F. Fillary were adopted subject to modification; the 
Secretary of State was informed that the County were ' thinking of raising vii.r.on for the purpose. 
The tenders, when received, were considerably higher than the estimate, and the plans were sent hack 
to the Architect for revision. He carried the slating over the tops ..t the wall-, and the Governor's 
house was not to be pulled down at that time. The contract was then placed with Messrs. Williams 
and Sons, builders, of Llanfaes, Brecon, at £7,198. An advertisement tor a loan was inserted in the 
Local papers : " Wanted to borrow, a sum not exceeding £7.000. payable by thirty equal instalments 
with interest. The Justices wish the advance made in the following manner, viz., £2,000 now mi 

January, 1870), £2,000 in July, and £3, in January, 1871." The oner of the Ciown Insurance 

Society was accepted, the interest to be ih per cent, per annum ; and at Easter Sessions a contract 


was signed with gentlemen representing the Crown Insurance Society. The prisoners were removed to 
Hereford until the new prison was ready, Brecknock to pay to Hereford the weekly sum of 10s. for 
each prisoner. 


The new Governor's house had been proceeded with, and Mr. Lazenby moved into it Midsummer, 
1871. At the same time £1,000 Consols, part of the sum invested from the Gaol loan, was sold out 
to meet the Gaol payments, a fact of some interest to those who govern the County in 1900, when 
the County has again to borrow, as showing the inconvenience of having money in hand before it is 
required. At Midsummer, 1872, a further loan of £1,000 was obtained from the Crown Insurance 
Company. At Michaelmas, 1873, Mr. Fillary, the architect, presented his report, by which it appeared 
that £L423 7s. Od. was due to the Contractors for extras in place of their much greater demands, 
which, however, they declined to accept. Anyhow, a further loan from the Crown Insurance Company 
of £1,000 was necessary. At the Epiphany Sessions, 1874, a Committee was appointed as to arbitration 
with the Contractors, and at the Epiphany Sessions, Messrs. Williams and Son made an offer to accept 
half the additional money claimed, viz., £1,111 5s. 6d., which the Justices accepted as a compromise, 
each party to pay their own costs. 

At the Easter Sessions, 1870, a letter was received from the Home Secretary advising the photo- 
graphing of prisoners as a means of identifying habitual criminals. The plan was adopted, and the 
prisoners being at Hereford a photographer of that town undertook the work for two shillings a portrait. 
This incident shows the advance even then taking place in the various uses of photography. 

Brynwawr Petty Sessional Division was formed in accordance with a statement received at the 
Epiphany Sessions, 1870. It originally consisted of the parcels of Duffryn Upper in the parish of 
Llangynidr, of Prisk Upper in the parish of Llangattock, and of so much of the parish of Llanelly 
as is within the district of the Brynmawr Board of Health. The district was carved out of Crick - 
howell, and subsequent legislation has largely altered its boundaries. The matter was completed and 
the district formed on June 1st, 1870. Brynmawr Justices' Room, necessary no doubt now that 
the new district had been formed, was ordered to be built early in 1873 at a cost not exceeding 
£250, to which £75 was added for furniture. 


At the Epiphany Sessions, 1871. the Justices undertook a comparative survey of county expendi- 
ture during the ten years last past. It is still an interesting document. The expenses varied very 
little, and averaged 'about £10,000 a year. Police cost in 1861, £2,217; in 1870 the charge was 
£2,740; now in 1899 the charge had risen to nearly £5,000 a year. Bridges averaged £1,200; the 
charge varied little, and still remains about the same figure. There had been large bridge loans due 
to the substitution of stone for wooden structures, and this was a charge in 1861 of £465 ; ten years 
later it had been paid off. The main roads were chiefly supported by tolls ; the payment of public 
debt, contracted for reasons described elsewhere, necessitated a county road rate, an annual charge of 
about £2.200. The Gaol, now His Majesty's Prison, but in 1861 supported by the ratepayers, was 
responsible for an annual charge of about £1,000, besides which there was the loan for enlargement, 
necessitating a charge of £300 a year. As to the Lunatic Asylum, the loan being gradually paid off, 
this cost at the commencement of the account £906, and in 1871 £340. Justices' Clerks, now a charge 
of about £1,100 a year, were then paid by fees, and do not appear in the account. In those early 
days many things now charged on the rates were defrayed out of other sources of revenue ; on the 
whole it will perhaps be found that the county expenditure has not largely increased since the intro- 
duction of popular government. The history of the Lunatic Asylum at Abergavenny has been given 
elsewhere in this work, and it only remains to state here that chronologically the new agreement on 
the retirement of Hereford from partnership was recorded at the Easter Sessions, 1871. 


In the autumn of 1871 the heart of the nation had been deeply moved by the desperate illness 
of His Royal Highness Albert Edward. Prince of Wales (King Edward VII.). The danger happily 
passed, and at their first meeting in 1872, the County Justices presented an address of sympathy to 
Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the restoration of the Prince to health. 

Government had in 1872 consented to make annual grants to counties to assist in the maintenance 
of the Police. The Justices of Brecknock returned the Chief Constable's salary at £250 and £50 for 
forage allowance, which latter item the Exchequer declined to admit. The Justices therefore at 


Easter, 1872, withdrew the forage allowance, and added £50 to the salary in lieu thereof. This was 
a shrewd device, but the Government declined to admit the change, and calculated their grant 


In 1872 the Ballot Act had been passed, altering the mode of rating from open voting to a 
system of secret voting. Amongst its many provisions was one that each voter should as tar as 
practicable have a polling place within tour miles of his residence Immediately on the passing of 
the Act at Michaelmas. 1X72. the Justices divided the county into fifteen polling districts, viz., (1) 
Brecon, (2) Brynmawr, (3) Built h. (4) Cet'n. (5) Crickhowell, (6) Defynock, (7) Duke'stown, (8) Hay, 
(9) Llanafan, (10) Llanwrtyd, (II) Lower Chapel, (12) Penderyn, (13) Talgarth, (14) Talybont, (15) 
Ystradgunlais. This arrangement has since been twice modified; at the present time (1899) there 
are 2.'! polling places, ami a, further revision seems likely in the immediate future (see Records f«r 

In 1873 Mr. Edward Williams resigned his office as Clerk of the Peace, which he had held for 20 
years. Mr. David Thomas, solicitor, of Brecon, was appointed his successor (see Mayors of Brecknock). 
Owing to the establishment of the County Police and other causes the work had considerably in- 
creased ; and at. Michaelmas if was agreed' that Mr. Thomas should receive a salary of £250 a year 
in lieu of fees, except such as were received by the late Clerk of the Peace. 


Records of Quarter Sessions, Vol. 12: 1874—1882. Vol. 13: 1883; and General County History to the year 1903. 

THE twelfth volume contains the record from 1S74 to 1882. Between the years 1840-1850, the 
railway system of England had started its existence, and the Metropolis had been connected wi'h 
every centre of population in the kingdom. Lines had been constructed to Shrewsbury, to 
Hereford, and to Gloucester, and thence along I he South Coast of Monmouth and Wales to Newport, Cardiff, 
Swansea, and Milford. In 1850 these great arteries of traffic had been connected by a line running 
from Shrewsbury through Hereford to Newport, skirting the borderland of Wales. During the ten 
years from 1.860 to 1870, Brecon had been connected with Swansea and Hereford, a second line ran 
to Merthyr and thence to Brynmawr and Abergavenny, while the north of the county was served by 
the Cambrian and Mid-Wales Railways, leaving the Hereford and Brecon line at Three Cocks and 
passing northward to Builth Road, at which point the line was crossed by the North- Western railway 
from Craven Arms to Carmarthen. The valuation of the railways for rating purposes was a matter 
of considerable, difficulty ; and at Michaelmas, 1874, a Committee was appointed, who reported that 
the Companies were much undervalued. They therefore engaged the services of Mr. Headley a well 
known valuer. His award does not appear in the Record, but a sum was agreed upon which was 
satisfactory both to the Railway Companies and to the County Authority. 


Contract prices in 1874 to 1877 were as follows : Bread remained at three halfpence a pound, 
meat at 7d ; coal sank to 13s. 6d. per ton from 18s. Under an Act of Parliament, in the year 1877 
the necessity for contracts ceased, and Prisons were transferred to the Secretary of State, their main- 
tenance and that of the prisoners therein being, after the commencement of the Act, defrayed out 
of the moneys provided by Parliament (Sec. 33). Power was given to the Secretary of State to 
discontinue any prison, provided that in every county there remained at least one prison, and even 
this limitation might be foregone if the Secretary of State for special reasons so ordered. When a 
prison was discontinued, a re-conveyance was to be offered to the Local Authority at a price of 
£120 per cell. Where more than adequate accommodation had been provided a sum was paid out 
of the National Exchequer to the Local Authority. The Act was of benefit to the ratepayers, and 
welcomed by them. Under its provisions the prison at Brecon was on the 1st of April, 1878, trans- 
ferred to the Secretary of State. The Governor, Mr. Lazenby, after a service of 41 years, retired on 
a pension of £143 a year ; his wife, who had acted as Matron, receiving a further pension of £57. 
In the following year an order was made by the Secretary of State for the closing of the prison, the 
special reason being that the average number of prisoners had been only 27. The offer was made 
of re-conveyance of the prison to the Local Authority on a payment into the Exchequer of £3,253 ; 
the Court did not desire to re-purchase, but thought it for the public interest that the prison should 
remain open for the reception of prisoners awaiting trial. The Secretary of State consented to this 
course provided that the Justices would forego any claim to compensation they might have under 
the Act. This, however, they declined to do, urging their claim to be paid for surplus cells, for 
which the Government made an offer of £480 and a further offer to purchase a small field adjoining 
at the rate of £150 an acre. 

With regard to the amount of compensation the Justices at Michaelmas, 1880, again addressed 
the Home Secretary : •' They had transferred to the State a most perfect prison complete in every 
respect, with sufficient accommodation to meet the future wants of the county. Great expense had 
been inclined in re-building at the instance of the Government itself. The town of Brecon had 
lately been made a military depot-. In the immediate neighbourhood was a large mining population." 
When this letter was despatched the Government had changed, and Sir William Vernon Harcourt 
was Home Secretary. On the 6th of December, 1870, shortly before the date of the above letter, 
a Brecknock prisoner, confined in Hereford Gaol, suddenly died. It was stated that the prison was 
overcrowded ; it had undoubtedly been full. There appeared to be no maladministration, but the fact 
of this prisoner's death may not have been without weight in the ultimate decision as to Brecon 
Prison. Sir W. Harcourt re-opened the question of the amount of compensation, now offering a sum 

H. Powell Powel, Esq. 
i if Castle Madoc. 

• en jl 1S70 

Howel Gwyn, Esq., 


. . ;'l IS I I.) 

Richard Douglas Gough, Esq. 
of yniscedwyn. 

{Hi Shci 

Wii.i iams-Yavghax, Esq . 



of £1,320, an addition of £57 being made as the price of the small adjoining field ; this latter sum 
was subsequently raised to £65, and the long discussed question was settled at the close of the 
year 1880. 

At the Easter Sessions, 1876, it was proposed to form a new Petty Sessional Division at Llan- 
wrtyd ; difficulties however, arose owing to the paucity of justices resident in that neighbourhood. 
Llanwrtyd, therefore, remains within the division of Builth ; but it was resolved that for the public 
convenience a meeting of the Justices should be held there once a month, in addition to the usual 
sessional meeting at Builth. 

The new police station at Brecon was completed before the end of the year 1874. The police 
station at Criekhowell being leasehold, it became necessary in 1878 to build a new one, and a freehold 
site was purchased from Dr. E. Parry for £1,000, at which price it had been valued by the County 
Surveyor, the money being borrowed from the Police Superannuation Fund. Three cells were built, 
and the house adapted at a further cost of £474 ; the whole work being finished by the spring of 
1880. A new police station was commenced at Hay in 1874, the tender being for £1,528; a loan for 
the purpose was advanced from the superannuation fund. 

In the year 1851, an Act of Parliament had been passed enacting, amongst other matters, that 
it should be lawful for Justices to pay the Clerks of Petty Sessions by salary in lieu of fees, the fees 
being paid to the Treasurer of the County. In 1877 the principal Act was made compulsory, and in 
future there was to be but one clerk for each petty sessional division, save when Petty Sessions 
were held at two places. The Clerk was to be of legal knowledge or experience, and be paid by 
salary. At Michaelmas, 1877, the Justices of Brecknock took the matter into consideration ; an 
amount was arrived at based upon the average of fees received during the preceding five years, with 
an addition of five per cent, on the actual amount paid annually to the County Treasurer. This 
arrangement not receiving the sanction of the Secretary of State, the five per cent, was added in the 
form of a fixed addition of salary, and the total amount of each Petty Sessional district was fixed as 
follows: Builth, £143; Brynmawr, £213; Criekhowell, £123; Defynock, £84; Hay, £113; Merthyr and 
Pencelly, £126; Penderyn, £144; Talgarth, £122; Ystradgunlais, £98; the total cost to the county 
being £1,166, a sum which experience has shown is not entirely covered by the amount of fees paid 
to the Treasurer. 

At Easter, 1S77, Mr. Penry Williams, of Penpont, announced his resignation of the office of 
Chairman of Quarter Sessions ; and the Justices placed on record their regret at his decision, and 
their sympathy with the indifferent health which was the cause of it. At the Midsummer Sessions 
the Rev. Hugh Bold, son of a previous holder of the office, was appointed chairman. 

Five years having passed since the County had been divided into polling districts, and experience 
having suggested certain alterations, additional polling places were ordered at the Epiphany Sessions, 
187S, at Cefncoedcymmer, Trecastle, Erwood, and Talybont (see llth Vol. of Records). 


On Sunday, October 8, 1876, the Usk and Tarrall had been in heavy flood, and the water had 
overwhelmed the district of Llanfaes ; the houses and shops being under water to the depth of four 
feet. At Epiphany Sessions, 1878, a memorial from the inhabitants was received by the Justices 
praying that some method miglit be adopted for the prevention of a recurrence of the calamity. The 
opinion of Mr. G. W. Keeling, C.E., was taken, and by his advice a committee recommended the 
removal of rubbish tipped above the bridge with the view of clearing the waterway, and certain 
alterations in the bank for the same object. Doubts, however, were felt as to the powers of the 
Justices and a case was submitted to Mr. Paterson, who was of opinion that the Justices, being 
neither River Conservators nor Commissioners of Sewers, had no power to interfere with the bed or 
banks of the river, except only when necessary repair to the bridge made such interference imperative, 
their powers being limited to" those of a highway authority, the safety of the highway being their 
sole responsibility. One might be inclined to ask here, if the rubbish tipped on the banks, and in 
the bed, of the river caused the floods which overflowed into the adjacent highways to the extent of 
four-feet deep, could such highways be deemed safe ? It was also declared that the cost of flood 
prevention could not be charged on the county rate. So the floods were allowed, so far as the Court 
was concerned, to make the existence of the inhabitants of Llanfaes almost unbearable at certain 
seasons. Before leaving this subject, it should be stated that when official bodies failed, a private 
member of the Court, in the person of Mr John Lloyd, made a study of this problem. He raised 
an embankment at the Gwttws, and did other work, at a considerable cost, and it is a fact to be 
recorded, that since 1899, although many heavy floods have come down the rivers, the waters have 
not overflowed into the main streets of Llanfaes. Some of the cost of this work was raised by public 
subscription, but a large share of the charge fell upon Mr. John Lloyd personally. 


At Easter, 1882, a painting of Colonel Lloyd Vaughan Watkins, formerly Lord Lieutenant of the 
County, and M.P. for the Borough, was presented to the County by the Misses Mohun-Harris, and 
hung in the Grand Jury Room. 


Section one commences at 1883 and extends to the election of the first County Council. At the 
commencement of the year 1883, a proposition was received on behalf of the County of Hereford that 
the magistrates of the Bredwardine division should hold their Petty Sessional meetings in the new 
Court House at Hay, and by Midsummer an agreement had been arrived at that the Bredwardine 
justices should have the joint use of the room at all times when it was not required for Hay Petty 
Sessions ; the Bredwardine Justices to have first right to the room on the second Monday in every 
month, on which day they held their Petty Sessions, Hereford paying to Brecknock the annual sum 
of £20. A similar application being made by the County of Radnor for the use of the Builth Justices' 
Room, the matter was dealt with by a committee appointed for the purpose. 

In the spring of 1883, died the Rev. Hugh Bold, M.A., Chairman of Quarter Sessions. The 
Justices in Quarter Sessions assembled, in affectionate remembrance, recorded their deep sense of the 
loss they had sustained. Sir Joseph Russell Bailey, Bart., M.P., Lord Lieutenant, was elected chair- 
man to succeed him. 

A new County Rate basis was agreed to, the summary being as follows : Brecknock Union, 
£115,107 14s. Od. ; Builth, £33,879 16s. 4d. ; Crickhowell, £5*9,337 0s. 6d. ; Hay, £36,978 10s. 2d. ; 
Llandovery, £4,073 18s. lOd. ; Merthyr Tydfil, £14,720 0s. 9d. ; Neath, £4,557 5s. Od. ; Rhayader, 
£2,497 12s. 6d. ; Pontardawe, £11,227 5s. 6d. Total, £282,397 3s. 7d. Some modifications in the 
Valuation of Railways were afterwards made with the approval of Hedley, the valuer. 

Justices' Clerks' salaries were reconsidered " on the basis of fines and fees paid to the County 
Treasurer during the past five years." In the case of Builth it was taken into consideration that 
the work at Llanwrtyd was not adequately represented by fines and fees. At Michaelmas, 1884, the 
Home Secretary made the following order as to salaries : Builth, £130 ; Brynmawr, £210 ; Crickhowell, 
£110; Devynock, £80; Hay, £95; Penderyn, £90; Talgarth, £100; and Ystradgunlais, £98. 

Dr. McCollough, superintendent of Abergavenny Joint Counties' Asylum, retired at Michaelmas, 
1883, after a service of 25 years, during which time he had earned a great reputation as a specialist 
on mental diseases. The Visitors assigned him a pension of £750 a year, but he only survived a few 

The Court at this time undertook the Revision of its Rules and Orders of Procedure, and the new 
Rules came into force at Easter, 1884. 


A South Wales University College having been established at Cardiff, a public meeting was held 
at the Shire Hall, Brecon, on Monday, January 7, 1884, at which it was resolved unanimously to 
form by subscription a fund of one thousand pounds to provide one or more scholarships to be held 
by Brecknockshire students at the University College. At the end of the year 1886 an amount of 
£1,040 9s. 6d. had been placed to the credit of the fund, of which David Evans, Esq., J. P., of 
Ffrwdgrech, was treasurer, and Mr. Thomas Butcher, of the Middle Class Private School, secretary. 
The first examination was held at Cardiff in January, 1887, when two scholarships, each of the annual 
value of £20, were awarded. In 1897, in consequence of a deficiency of candidates, the unpaid 
instalments had accumulated, and the trustees were enabled to increase the scholarship by the annual 
amount of £2. The first intention of the subscribers in October, 1886, had been that one scholarship 
of forty pounds a year should be open to boys " resident in the county of Brecknock for ten years 
last past," to be an entrance scholarship tenable only at the University College of South Wales and 
Monmouthshire. These resolutions were on November 25, 1886, submitted to the University Authori- 
ties, who replied that they thought two scholarships of £20 each preferable, the successful candidates 
being in addition allowed to hold College exhibitions if gained by open competition. Acting on this 
advice the Committee divided the money into two scholarships of £20 each. In December, 1901, it 
was found that the scholarships had frequently been vacant, and that a balance of £357 10s. Od. 
stood to the credit of the trustees, which enabled them to augment the two scholarships, each to be 
worth £27 annually. 

By the Corrupt Practices Act, 1883, it had been enacted that every County should be divided 
into polling districts in such a manner that, so far as was reasonably possible, every resident elector 
should have his polling place within three miles of his home, so nevertheless that a polling district 
need not be constituted containing less than one hundred votes. And by a subsequent enactment 


in 1885, the duty of carrying out the measure was laid upon the Loeal Authority, at that time the 
Court of Quarter Sessions. At Midsummer the Finance Committee deemed it advisable to report 
what alterations was in their judgment necessary to adapt the existing districts to I he altered state 
of the electoral law. New polling places were required at Llanwrthwl, Talyllyn, Cwmdu, and 
Llanelly, and though the Record docs not seem to mention any order upon this report, it was 
no doubt made. Since that time another polling place has been added at Llangynidr, and, so con- 
stituted, the polling districts and places remain unaltered at the date of writing in 1899 : 


District. Places Contained Within the Polling District. 

1. Llanwrthwl Parish of Llanwrthwl. 

♦2. Llanwrtyd Llamlulais, Llanwrtyd, Abergwessin, Troflys, Ponbuallt. 

3. Llanafan Llanlleonfel. 

4. Builth Builth Urban, Builth Rural. Rhosfeng, Llanganten, Llanynis, Maesmynis, Llangyrnog, Llandowi'r cwm, 


5. Erwood ........ Gwenddwr and Criekadarn. 

<i. Talgarth .... In Hay Union : Talgarth, Llanelieu, Llyswen, Bronllvs. 

Brecknock Union : Llandefalle, Llanfillo, Trawscoed. 

7. Glasburv Pipton, Aberllynfi, Tregoyd and Velindro, Llanigon. 

8. Hay Glvnfach, Hay. 

9. Cefn Ce'fn, Gelly, Duffryn, Nantddu. 

1 0. Penderyn Hepste, Penderyn, Ystradf elite. 

11. Ystradgunlais . Ystradgunlais Lower, Palleg, Ystradgunlais Higher, Glyntawe. 

12. Treeastle Traianglas, Traianmawr. 

13. Defynock Ysclydaeh, Penpont, Maesear, Llandilorfan, Llanfihangel nant bran. Trallong, Senny, Cray, Glyn. 

14. Brecknock .... St. David. St. John. St. Mary, Castle Inn. Christ College, Modrydd, Llanspyddid, Cantref, Llanfrynach, 

Llaiili.tiiilai'h. 1. 1, mildew, I 'attclid'hi, I'.alll., Ahcrvskir, Vrnnv iarh. 

15. Lower Chapel . . Garthbrengy. Llandefaelog fach, Merthyr Cynog, Llanfihangel fechan. 

Hi. Talybont .... Llanfigan. Llanthetty, Llansantffread, Cathedine [Llangynidr, at first in Talybont district, has since been 

formed into a. separate district.] 

*17. Talyllyn Llanwern, Llangasty Talyllyn, Llanfihangel Talyllyn, Llandefaelog tregraig, Llangorse. 

17a. Llangynidr . . Electoral Division of Llangynidr [made a separate division in 1894 to prevent Crickhowell Rural District 

overlapping Brecknock.] 

18. Crickhowell .. Grwvne fawr, Grwyne fechan, Patricio, Llanbedr, Llangenau, Crickhowell, Llangattoek. 

19. Cwmdu The Parish of Cwmdu. 

*20. Llanelly Electoral Divisions of Gilwern and Llanelly. 

21. Brynmawr The Urban District of Brynmawr. 

22. Duke's Town .... Beaufort, Rassa, Duke's Town, Llech Rhyd, (The places in Duke's Town district are within the administrative 

County of Monmouth, and may possibly be placed hereafter in the Parliamentary County of Mon- 
mouth also.) 
(The Districts marked with an asterisk were newly jormed in 1885 ; the district marked 17a. was not formed till 1894). 


The Turnpike Trust under which the road from Abergavenny to Tredegar had been administered 
came to an end in the year 1885. The toll gates were removed and the road became an ordinary 
highway reparable by the parishes through which it passed. The road fulfilled the purposes of a 
main road ; the traffic was large, and the gradient very steep, so the cost of maintenance would 
therefore be heavy. The South Wales Turnpike Act contained no provision for the adoption of new 
roads, the Court therefore considered that special legislation should be obtained, and that a Bill should 
be prepared "provided that no expense is thereby occasioned to the county." A measure dealing 
with the subject was passed by Parliament and an amending Act the following year ; so much of the 
road as lay within the county of Brecknock (except so much as was within the urban district of 
Brynmawr) was henceforth to be repaired by the County Roads Board. 


The year 1877 completed the fiftieth year of the reign of H.M. Queen Victoria, and the Court 
presented a loyal address of congratulation. This event was celebrated in every town and village in 
the county with great rejoicings, the young being feasted with teas and the aged poor and others 
sat down together at dinner. Sports were held, and huge bonfires kindled on the hills of the county, 
notably on the summit of the Brecknock Beacons. To celebrate the event at Hay and Builth, in a 
more enduring form, the Public Bodies of those places purchased from Sir J. R. Bailey, Bart, (the 
Lord of the Manor), the market tolls. The conveyance of the tolls at Builth was completed early in 
the following year, and thus was extinguished a feudal tax which had existed since the times of the 
Normans. Services of thanksgiving were held in the various churches and chapels in the county, 
and that held in the Priory at Brecon took the form of a county event, and the military attended 
what was a most impressive gathering. The Mayor of Brecknock (Dr. James Williams. J. P.), in 
response to the invitation extended to the Mayors of Provincial towns, attended in his robes of office 
the great national service of thanksgiving in London. 


The most important work of the year was the reconstruction of the roadway of the Brecknock 
portion of Glasbury bridge with iron ; the greatest care was taken to test the strength of the work, 
and a loan of £1,000 was borrowed for the rebuilding of the bridge. 


Up to the year 1887 the public business of the counties of England and Wales had been trans- 
acted by Justices of the Peace, appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Lords Lieutenants. 
The reform of county government, involving transference of financial responsibility from the Court of 
Quarter Sessions to an Elective Council had, however, been under the consideration of politicians for 
many years. During the Parliament of 1868-74 (the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone being Prime 
Minister) a Bill had been introduced dealing with the question, under which it was intended that 
the poor law union should be the constituency for the election by ratepayers of representatives who 
should be the financial county. The fact that poor law unions were in many cases not conterminous 
with the county, but overlapped, being formed oftentimes from parts of two, sometimes of more than 
two counties, seems to have been overlooked. As soon as the difficulties arising from this cause 
became apparent, the Bill was withdrawn. County Boards again formed part of the programme of 
Mr. Disraeli's Government of 1874, and of Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet of 1880 ; both great parties in 
the State had pledged themselves to deal with the question. A ministry under the leadership of 
Lord Salisbury took office in 1866, and placed the reform of Local Government and of Local Taxation 
first amongst their measures of importance. 

The first step taken was an attempt to simplify local areas of government. During the summer 
of 1877 an Act of Parliament (50-51 Vict., c. 61) was passed appointing Commissioners to enquire 
and report as to the boundaries of certain areas of local government in England and Wales ; as to 
the best mode of so adjusting the boundaries of the county and of the other areas of local government 
as to arrange that no union, sanitary district, or parish, should be situate in more than one county ; 
and as to any alteration of boundaries, combination of areas, or administrative arrangements con- 
sequential on any alteration which they might recommend in the boundaries of any county, union, 
sanitary district, or parish. As a measure of general application the first idea of the Commissioners 
was to adopt Union Counties. The union county had already been adopted for registration purposes ; 
the term indicated a county to be formed (a) of all such poor law unions as lay entirely within the 
district, (b) unions which were placed in more than one county being transferred to that county 
within which the greater part of the inhabitants resided. 

In the County of Brecknock, the Union of Brecknock was the only one in no way connected 
with adjoining counties. On the South, Ystradgunlais was in the Union of Pontardawe ; Ystradfellte 
in that of Neath ; Penderyn and Vaynor in Union of Merthvr Tydfil ; and the whole of these Unions 
were, with the exception of the above named Brecknockshire parishes, in the County of Glamorgan. 
In the Union of Crickhowell the southern portions of the parishes of Llangattock and Llangynidr (as 
then constituted) had been placed in the local board districts of Rhymney, Tredegar, and Ebbw Vale, 
all in the county of Monmouth ; while the Urban district of Brynmawr, cliieny carved out of the 
Brecknockshire parishes of Llangattock and Llanelly, had recently had added to it a small portion of 
the parish of Aberystruth in the County of Monmouth. 

On the northern boundary of the County, similar complications arose. The town of Llanwrtyd, 
with the neighbouring parish of Llandulas, formed part of the Union of Llandovery in the County 
of Carmarthen. Llanwrthwl, the northern most parish of Brecknockshire, had been annexed to the 
Radnorshire Union of Rhayader. The Brecknockshire Union of Builth contained within its limits 
no less than ten Radnorshire parishes, for the most part consisting of the watersheds of brooks 
tributary to the river Wye. Lastly the Brecknockshire Union of Hay was composed of ten parishes 
and hamlets in the county of Brecknock, of nine in Radnor, and of four in Herefordshire. 

In face of this confusion of boundaries, the first idea of the Commissioners was to place the 
broken district south of the Beacon range of mountains in the counties of Glamorgan and Momnouth. 
Brecknockshire and Radnorshire might, they thought, be joined into one administrative county : it 
would be in area about the size of Herefordshire, but with a smaller population. It is sufficient 
now to say that the proposition met with the strongest opposition. They then fell back upon the 
scheme of the Union County, compensating Radnorslure on the north and east for parishes watered 
by the Wye and its tributaries, which would pass into the County of Brecknock ; the latter county 
ceding in turn on the south certain parishes to Glamorgan and Monmouth, and gaining those parishes 
of Hereford, Radnor, and Carmarthen, which formed part of the Unions of Hay, Builth, and Llan- 
dovery. This proposition found favour with the Committee of Justices ; it would have formed an 
area very suitable for administration, but this scheme, also, excited the strongest opposition ; Radnor- 


shire deemed the plan equivalent to its own extinction, and Ikt orators spoke of the impending 
contest as a struggle for existence. " Impudent audacity " was a term freely applied to it, and 
great excitement prevailed in that county. 

Nor was much greater favour shown in Brecknock. On the north, many of the Justices resided 
in Radnor, and shared the view held by that county. On the south, Ystradf elite, Penderyn, and 
Ystradgunlais shrewdly totted up the cash, and arrived at the conclusion that union with the more 
important districts of Glamorgan would not be to their advantage ; while Brynmawr and the neigh- 
bouring townships looked at the political side of the question, feared that the party, whose opinions 
were snared by the majority of the townsmen, might lose ground in Brecknock if that district which 
they deemed the Liberal stronghold were ceded to Monmouth. 


Petitions flowed from every quarter that the Justices would leave the boundaries of the county 
as they hitherto had been. The Chairman of Quarter Sessions, to whom the discredit of the proposed 
alterations was k freely attributed, was lampooned in verses "too scurrilous to be accepted in their 
entirety by a respectable newspaper." Quarter Sessions, at an adjourned meeting, considered the 
question, the supporters of the measure found themselves in a minority, and the scheme, so far as 
the County of Brecknock was concerned, was as good as dead. That which occurred in Brecknock 
happened also elsewhere : a county sentiment, not anticipated, everywhere evinced itself, and the 
Government decided to proceed in the following Session of Parliament with a local Government Bill 
not dependent on the report of the Commission. 

At the Epiphany Sessions, 1808, a motion was carried to the following effect: "That this Court 
protests against any alterations of the ancient boundaries of the county, which are convenient, well- 
defined, and acceptable to the inhabitants of the County." Mr. Penry Lloyd brought forward a 
scheme for dividing the county for local government purposes into six districts- No. 1, Brecon; No. 2 
Hay ; No. 3, Builth ; No. 4, ' Crickhowell ; No. 5, Vaynor ; No. 6, Defynock. This was referred to 
the various local bodies to report thereon, and a special meeting was held on February 18th to con- 
sider their reports. An objection was raised on behalf of Brecknock, on which the voting was even, 
and Colonel Conway Lloyd, of Dinas, who occupied the chair, gave his casting vote in favour of the 
scheme, which was' forwarded to the Boundary Commissioners. At the Easter Sessions an elaborate 
scheme was received from them, and at the same Sessions the Local Government Bill, not dependent 
on the boundary report, was received, and at a special meeting on the 12th of April the Justices 
approved the general principles of that Bill. They considered that the number of Councillors should 
not be less than thirty ; that in airanging electoral divisions area as well as population should be 
considered ; they disapproved the principle of selected Aldermen ; they disapproved handing over 
the police to the control of a joint Committee of Justices and Councillors ; they considered that the 
Council should have the management, of main roads ; that highways should be placed in the hands 
of District Councils, to whom also assessment for rating purposes should be entrusted, many of which 
matters formed the subject of subsequent legislation. 


The year 1888 will long be remembered for the commencement of a series of reforms in Local 
Government in Great Britain. Those reforms, not yet, at the close of the L9th century, complete, 
involved many changes in boundaries and management ; the keynote, however, was the transference 
of local administration from the hands of the justices to elective Councils. The measures introduced 
in the Session of 1888, originally contained provisions foi a County Council and for District Councils, 
a promise being given that similar legislation should be afterwards undertaken for Parish Councils. 
The subject proved so vast that all, save the County Councils, had to be defeired for future con- 
sideration. The County Council consisted as to three-fourths of elected Councillors, and as to one- 
fourth of County Aldermen elected by the Councillors. The number of Councillors was determined 
in each case by Parliament, that being selected which seemed likely to form a Council convenient 
for purposes of deliberation. 

To the County of Brecknock were allotted forty-live Councillors, with the complimentary number 
of fifteen Aldermen, constituting in all a Council of 60 members. The task of dividing the county 
into electoral divisions was entrusted to the Justices in Quarter Sessions assembled, subject to the 
following instructions (See. :>]). viz.. "The divisions were to be arranged with a view to the popula- 
tion being as nearly as possible equal, regard being had to a proper representation, both of rural 
and urban population, to the distribution and pursuits of the population, and to area." Every 
electoral division was to be a county district, a combination of county districts, or to be comprised 


within a county district, the term county district being used in anticipation of the formation of 
District Councils, provisions for which had originally formed part of the Government measure, and 
which has become the subject of subsequent enactments. 

The Administrative County for the purpose of the first election was defined by the Act (Sec. 50) 
to be " the County as bounded for the purpose of the election of members to serve in Parliament, 
with the following exception, where any Urban Sanitary District is situate partly within and partly 
without the boundary of a county, the district is to be deemed to be within that county which con- 
tained the larger portion of the population of the district." Thus, in the County of Brecknock, so 
much of the southern portions of the parishes of Llangynidr and Llangattock as were situated in 
the urban districts of Rhymney, Tredegar, and Ebbw Vale, passed for administrative purposes into 
the County of Monmouth ; and returned no member to the first Brecknock County Council ; on the 
other hand, a small portion of the Monmouth parish of Aberystruth, with the urban district of 
Brynmawr, passed into the administrative County of Brecknock. 

The Justices devoted the remainder of the year to the task of working out the detail of the 
new law. The Government had allotted to the Boiough of Brecon five members on the County 
Council ; the Justices therefore divided the remainder of the county into forty-one electoral divisions. 
To each portion of the county representing the future county district, was allotted the number of 
Councillors due to its population, and in considering the further division of the district into electoral 
units consideration of area and geographical position were allotted weight. The average population 
of each electoral division was 1,150. The town of Hay contained the largest population, viz., 1,950, 
but was small in area ; the smallest population to which a Councillor was allotted was in the division 
of Llangynidr, a parish of large area, which from geographical considerations did not admit of con- 
venient grouping. The last few months of the year were passed in active canvassing for the first 
election of the County Council ; the contests were nearly everywhere fought on political issues, both 
political parties striving to obtain a majority on the new Council. 


In the year 1888, the Town Hall of Brecon, which had long required enlargement and renovation, 
was re-built at a cost of £3,000. The basement beneath the old assembly room and Council room, 
which had in days gone by served the purpose of a corn market, and sometimes of a butter and 
cheese market, and in which were placed the old ' ' stocks ' ' for the punishment of offenders, was 
converted into a Council Chamber and Borough Police Court, a Mayor's parlour, Town Clerk's offices, 
etc., thereby enabling the whole of the room above to be devoted to the purpose of an assembly 
room. When completed, the building internally presented a very handsome appearance ; but externally, 
except for the removal of the old iron railing in the archways, and a couple of doorways, and the 
substitution of windows, the building remained as before. A ' ' drum-face ' ' clock was erected over 
the main entrance. The cost of these various alterations was wholly defrayed by the late Colonel 
John Morgan, D.L., J. P., V.D., of Bank House, Brecon, who had inherited great wealth from his 
uncle, a private banker, and who during his public fife had performed many acts of kindness and 
benevolence to the town and county of Brecon. 

Amongst smaller events of the year, it was moved, and two years subsequently, on Tuesday, 
April 8th, 1890, enrolled, that the parishes of Llanspyddid, Modrydd, and Glyn, formerly in the 
Petty Sessional Division of Defynock, should in future form part of the United Petty Sessional 
Division of Merthyr and Pencelly. 


January, 1889, saw the first election of a County Council. As already stated, in Brecknock, as 
elsewhere, it involved a sharp political contest, and some heart-burning amongst those engaged; 
this was, however, but a thing of the moment, and has no subsequent interest. As the result, a 
Council was elected thoroughly representative of the county. Those of the Justices who had in 
former years taken an active part in public business, were for the most part returned as Councillors 
for the divisions 'in which they resided ; some, whom the accident of local politics had excluded 
at the election, entered the Council as Aldermen, and a strong contingent of new men from the 
professional classes, agriculturists, and traders, brought into the service of the county a variety of 
useful knowledge. At their first meeting the Council elected as their chairman Charles Evan-Thomas, 
Esq., barrister-at-law, of the Knoll, Neath, who with wisdom and courtesy presided over their delibera- 
tions for a period of eleven years, retiring, to the great regret of his colleagues, in the spring of 
the year 1900. The vice-chair was filled by Richard Digby Cleasby, Esq., J. P., of Penoyre, Brecon, 


Police, Justice, and management of the county buildings, were by special enactment placed in the 
hands of a Standing Joint Committee, chosen as to half its number from the Justices, and the other 
half from amongst the members of the County Council. 


The County Roads Board, under which the turnpike roads of Breconshire bad been managed 
since the year 1844, was now abolished, its work being taken over by the County Council, and con- 
fided to a Committee. Toll gates were removed, and the turnpike roads, henceforth termed " main " 
roads, became a charge upon the county fund. Other Committees were appointed, to whom were 
entrusted finance, the formation of a county rate basis, the diseases of animals, the management of 
the Lunatic Asylum at Abergavenny, and the framing of standing orders for the regulation of the 
work of the Council. 

The first difficulty encountered by the Council arouse from the administration of main roads. 
In some districts, notably in Ystradgunlais, there had been no turnpike, road. So long as the turnpike 
roads had been repaired by a charge on the traveller, levied at the toll gate, no grievance occurred ; 
but now main roads were maintained at the cost of the county fund, in which easement those localities 
in which were no main roads did not participate. In Urban districts, also, the portion of the main 
road passing through the town was a street repaired by the Urban Authority. This, said the towns- 
men, was but a portion of the main road, and should be repaired in whole or in part by the County 
fund. In Brvnmawr, it was argued, there was a special hardship in the case of the main road 
passing through the town ; it had been a turnpike road, was never made as a street, but houses had 
been built up by degrees on either side of it, added to which their district included a mile of county 
where there was no pretence of calling the road a street. 


The Council met in April to elect Aldermen and Committees, and at their first meeting for 
business on May the 4th. the Councillors for Brvnmawr moved "That the Breconshire County Council 
will maintain and repair the portion of the disturnpiked road that is within the Urban district of 
Brynmawr," In October the Councillor for Ystradgynlais took action, and proposed "That con- 
sidering the exceptional position of Ystradgynlais, owing to there being no main road in the district, 
and the injustice arising therefrom, it is desirable that a giant in aid be made, or a portion of the 
road be mained, such grant being as far as practicable in proportion to the contribution of the 
district towards the main roads of the county." How far reaching such a policy would have been 
may be shown from a resolution proposed the following year by Councillor Owen Price, viz., "That 
in order to equalise the rates for main roads in this county it is desirable that the amount levied 
in each highway district should be expended within that district, and to carry that system into effect 
it is necessary that 76 miles of roads should be taken over by this Council in addition to the main 
roads maintained at present." To which it was replied, if the rates were to be equalised, then the 
poor rate also should he treated as a common charge on the county fund. At every meeting this 
vexed question came up in some form, and in 1S91 Colonel Conway Lloyd, chairman of the Roads 
Committee, placed on the paper two alternatives: (1) To dismain all roads, throwing the repairs on 
the various districts ; (2) for the Council to take over the management of all highways, making them 
a common charge on the county fund. Either proposition involved new legislation, and shared the 
fate of all previous suggestions, so were rejected by the Council. The warfare continued until 1893, 
when Alderman Doyle, of Penydarren, Crickhowell, who had succeeded to the presidency of the 
Roads Committee, produced a scheme by which the Council undertook to subsidize certain selected 
highways which were links in a main road, or were thoroughfares to a railway station ; the subsidy 
was limited in urban districts to one-third the cost of repairs, and in rural districts to one-half. A 
list of subsidized roads was adopted at the same meeting, and on the fourth of August the cost of 
repair of each road was arrived at, and the amount of assistance settled ; the cost to the county 
being about £350 annually. Thus was settled a question of much contention, and though some 
attempts were afterwards made to re-open the matter, the Council has been firm in declining to 
depart from the arrangement then made. 


Ir August, 1889, the National Eisteddfod was held at Brecon under the presidency of H.M. 
Queen Victoria and H.R.H. the Prince and Princess of Wales. It had been intimated that the Prince 
and Princess would attend the gathering in person, and preparations were made for entertaining their 
Royal Highnesses. Much to the disappointment of the inhabitants of the county, these royal per- 
sonages found it impossible to visit Wales at that time. The National gathering was therefore opened 
by the Lord Lieutenant of the County (Sir Joseph Bailey, Bart.), in the temporary building (capable 


of holding more than ten thousand people, and twice the size of the Free Trade Hall, Manchester) 
which had been erected in fields on Cerrigcochion Road (where now stands the Intermediate School 
for Girls and other buildings) ; and even this vast structure proved too small on the most crowded 
day of the meeting. Madame Patti (who for 25 years had been unrivalled as a vocalist, and who had 
taken up her residence in the county at Craig-y-nos) attracted enormous crowds of visitors, and 
charmed the multitude in and outside the Pavilion by her singing of the Welsh patriotic song, 
"Land of My Fathers," led by Mr. William Abraham, a popular Member of Parliament, generally 
known as " Mabon " (the boy). And as this genial leader of Welsh people, and the incomparable 
Patti, united in this inspiring melody, the immense assemblage, numbering perhaps some fifteen 
thousand people, rose as one man to shout the chorus, a touching effect perhaps never before wit- 
nessed in the history of music, The gathering, extending over nearly a week, was an enormous 
success, and evoked scenes of great enthusiasm in Brecon. 


In July, 1890, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales informed the Lord Lieutenant of Breck- 
nock that he desired that his eldest son, H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, should visit 
South Wales ; that, mindful of the disappointment which had been experienced by the people the 
previous year, he wished the Duke to go first to Brecknock, and afterwards to one of the great 
commercial centres. The Duke of Clarence and Avondale accordingly arrived from York on the 15th 
of September. At Hereford, His Royal Highness was received by the Mayor and chief magistrates 
of the county and city. At Abergavenny, the Duke of Beaufort, Lord Lieutenant of Monmouth- 
shire, was in attendance ; and the Town Commissioners presented an address. The town was gay 
with decorations, and the streets thronged with people assembled to greet the Duke ; and the road 
to Crickhowell was spanned by arches at frequent intervals. The carriages were escorted by the 
Monmouthshire Yeomanry to the frontier of Brecknockshire, where they were met by the Mounted 
Company of Brecknock Volunteers, under the command of Captain Penry Lloyd. The town of 
Crickhowell and its ruined Castle were illuminated. 

The Duke during his stay in Wales was the guest of the Lord Lieutenant of Brecknock at 
Glanusk Park. On Tuesday, September the 16th, the Royal party visited Brecon, and were present 
at the Agricultural Show. Within a mile of Brecon, they were again met by the military escort. 
The county town had been most gaily decorated, and at the Bulwark, in front of the Duke of Wel- 
lington monument, a dais had been erected, and here Colonel John Morgan, for the third time Mayor 
of Brecon, in the presence of the Council, county people, and a great crowd of burgesses and others, 
presented the Prince with a golden casket containing an address of welcome, which His Royal High- 
ness graciously accepted and acknowledged. The Show was held on the Dinas Green, meadows 
adjoining the River Usk near to Christ College, lent for the occasion by Colonel Conway Lloyd ; the 
Volunteer Battalion of the South Wales Borderers, under his command, formed a guard of honour 
during the day, and subsequently dined together at the Market Hall at the cost of their officers. 
The Prince inspected the show of cattle, etc., and afterwards held a reception in a pavilion, at which 
all persons holding official rank, and local notabilities, were presented to him. His Royal Highness 
was afterwards entertained at luncheon in the Hall of Christ College by the High Sheriff and Mrs 
Cleasby, of Penoyre. 

On the following day, September 17th, the Prince, attended by his suite and a party from 
Glanusk, proceeded by special train to Cardiff, where he opened in state a new approach to the 
Docks, and a bridge which was to bear the name of Clarence Bridge. Probably such crowds as 
assembled on this occasion had never before been seen in the Principality, 

On the 18th, Thursday, His Royal Highness laid the foundation stone of the Public Hall at 
Crickhowell, and he planted ' ' the Clarence Oak ' ' at Glanusk Park, and in the evening started by 
special train on his return journey to Scotland. Not many months later, this amiable Prince was 
stricken with illness, and, to the great grief of his countrymen, died. The melancholy event evoked 
widespread tokens of sorrow and sympathy with the Royal house, and in no part of the Empire 
were these expressions more sincere than in the county of Brecknock. 

Within the early summer of this year, the Rev. Daniel Lewis Lloyd, M.A., Headmaster of Christ 
College, Brecon, was created Bishop of Bangor. (See History of Christ College.) He was succeeded by 
the Rev. A. Bayfield, M.A. 

The year was very favourable for agriculturists, who, since 1880, had suffered severely from 
depression of trade and bad seasons. Early in December a hard frost set in, and on the 17th there 


fell heavy snow, which lay <>n the ground until the 20th of January, 1891. This winter was said to 
he the most severe that had been experienced since careful record had been kept. 


During the year 1890-91 the county by a "windfall" became the possessors of a piece of pro- 
perty called the Angel Inn. at Brecon (8 and d Vict., c. is. Sec. 127). There is a legal obligation 
on the Railway Companies and other persons purchasing lands compulsorily, to sell all superfluous lands 
within ten years after the completion of their works, and in default any superfluous land unsold 
becomes the property of the owner's of land adjacent thereto. The Neath and Brecon Railway had 
thus purchased the Angel Inn, Brecon, hut had made no use of it for their undertaking. Ten years 
had elapsed since their works were completed, and it remained still unsold. The adjoining lands 
belonged partly to Mr J. I!. Cobb, partly to the County of Brecknock ; each adjoining owner asserted 
his claim, and an action issued, [n the result the Company admitted that the Inn became the 
property of the claimants according to their respective frontages, less a strip 8 feet wide, which the 
Company retained to enable them to erect scaffolding for repairing the arches of their bridge. On these 
terms the matter was adjusted, and the Angel Inn passed into the possession of the County of Breck- 

Local taxation came under the enquiry of the Council in 1891, a Committee reporting January 
29th. This report dealt with every branch of taxation, the general result being that the heavies! 
taxation is home by parishes connected with large populations. The heaviest was Brynmawr, where 
taxation reached 8s. in the £ of rateable value; all urban districts and parishes with School Boards 
were also heavily taxed, the smallest burden being laid on parishes entirely agricultural, those in the 
Hay Union being no higher than Is. 8d. in the L'. 


In 1889 the Welsh Intermediate Education Act was passed, "to make provision for technical 
and intermediate education in Wales and .Monmouth." The general intention was to carry on, largely 
at public expense, the education of children between the time when they left the Elementary School 
and that at which they went out into the world, or completed their studies at one of the Universities. 
In Brecknock a scheme was prepared by a Committee appointed partly by the Imperial Government 
and. partly by the County Council, which scheme received the approval of Queen Victoria in Council 
20th November, 1894. Funds were provided for intermediate education from a county rate of one 
halfpenny, a Treasury grant of like amount, ami a further sum provided by the Customs and Excise 
Act. 1890. A County Governing Body of 2.'i Governors were appointed twelve by the County 
Council, one by the University College of Wales, eight by the local school managers, and two by 
co-optation. Of this body Colonel F. W. A. Roche, of Tregunter, was the first chairman, an office 
which he held till his death in 1S1I7. The county was divided into eight school districts, of which 
Builth, Brecon, and Brynmawr were to erect schools. Hay, Talgarth, and Defynock were affiliated 
to Brecon; Vaynor and Ystradgunlais to the neighbouring districts of Glamorgan. Public Scholarships 
and Bursaries were instituted under the control of each district of school managers; the scholarships 
are obtainable by competition, limited to children resident in the district, educated for three years 
at Public Elementary Schools. Sufficient money was collected to commence building schools al 
Builth in 1896, and these schools were opened in 1900; the dual school at Brynmawr was completed 
in lstitt, and the boys and girls' schools at Brecon in 1901. 


In the year 1891 the authorities of Birmingham decided to obtain water to supply their city, 
with its half million of inhabitants, from the Valleys of the Elan and Clairwen, which rivers form 
the northern boundary of Brecknockshire, dividing that county from Radnor. In the Act of Parlia- 
ment applied for, clauses were introduced protecting the county rate (report, August 5th, 1892), 
roads, and bridges. The Corporation of Birmingham further undertook to send down the River Wye 
a daily supply of 27 million gallons to compensate the fishing interests, and to pay a sum of £7,500 
to the Conservators for the improvement ol the river. The Act received the Royal Assent 22nd 
June, 1N!>2. The Corporation of Birmingham purchased the entire property of Mr Lewis Lloyd, J. P., 
of Nantgwylt, the manorial rights of the Manor of Builth situate within the valley, and made similar 
arrangements in Radnorshire. Birmingham thus acquired an unlimited supply of pure water, having 
purchased in order to do so a large quantity of hind, and to which must be added casements for 
7.'! miles of aequeducts. On October 31, 1892, Mr James Mansergh was instructed to prepare plans; 
and a railway, constructed from Rhayader to the works, was completed by July, 1894. A village 
was built on the Brecknock side of the valley for the navvies, their families, and otheis engaged in 
this extensive undertaking ; and the settlement must be regarded as in every sense a model 


village. It provided accommodation for 1,000 persons, and was approached by a bridge erected 
by the Corporation on private ground ; there was a complete system of sewage, public lighting, 
and water supply, and the public institutions comprised a school and mission room, a 
recreation hall, canteen, bath house, and hospitals, all under the control of the Birmingham Corpora- 
tion. The dwelling huts were built of wood, weather boarded ; at one end being accommodation for 
the keeper and his family, and in the centre a common living room, and beyond a passage having 
on either side cubicles, each lodger having a separate sleeping room. These works were completed 
in the year 1904, and His Majesty King Edward VII. and Queen Alexandra attended the opening 
ceremony, when there were great rejoicings at Rhayader and the Elan Valley. 1 


In the year 189.3, a dispute arose as to the repairs of a main road, the " Rhyd y Brew" road, 
leading from Swansea and Neath to Merthyr Tydfil. A portion of it, about one and a half miles in 
length, lay within the county, but it had always been treated as a Glamorgan road, and Brecknock 
averred that the cost should continue to be borne by Glamorgan, although subsequent legislation 
had imposed on County Councils the burden of maintaining all main roads within their jurisdiction. 
The question was tried at law. with the result of a decision in favour of Glamorgan (April, 1897), 
and the repair of this portion of the road will therefore fall in future upon the County of Breck- 

The year 1894 is memorable for the passing of a Local Government Act ; an important developement 
of the scheme of local government, initiated in 1888. by the creation of County Councils. District 
Councils, contemplated, but not carried out by the original Act, were now brought into existence, 
and the list of local authorities was completed by the formation of Parish Councils in rural parishes. 
The Rural District Council took the place of Rural Sanitary and Highway Authorities ; the Council 
also acted as Guardians of the Poor. Justices of the Peace, who had up to this time been ex-officio 
Guardians, ceased to act in that capacity, and the Council was entirely elected by popular suffrage. 
In Brecknock the county delegated to a Committee the task of bringing the act into operation. 
Their proposals were ready by August 3rd. The general scheme was that every parish of less than 
500 inhabitants should return one member to the District Council, while parishes of larger populations 
should be represented by two Councillors ; parishes situate partly in an urban and partly in a rural 
district, and those which were partly within and partly without the administrative county, were 
divided, so that there should ultimately be no confusion of areas. Where the interests of more than 
one county were involved, the areas interested were represented on a joint Committee to whom the 
matter was referred. Parish Councils, taking, except for ecclesiastical purposes, the place of the 
ancient vestry meeting, came into being at the same time, the number of the Councillors being 
adjusted to the size of the parish, such parishes of less than one hundered inhabitants, as the County 
Council thought should have a Council, being allotted five members ; the number of Councillors 
gradually increasing until parishes of over 2,000 inhabitants were given a Council of 15 members. 
Under the Act of 1894, Parish Councillors were elected annually, but by subsequent legislation in 
1899, this term of office has been extended to three years (62 and 63 Vic, c. 10). 


On the 23rd January, 1895, Buckland, the mansion of Mr. J. P. Gwynne Holford, was totally 
destroyed by fire, and this lamentable incident is more fully dealt with in the parochial section of 
this work. It has been re-built, the new house being completed in 1898. 

The years 1895-98 formed the third elective period of the County Council : it was elected in 
March, 1895 ; Mr Charles Evan-Thomas being for the third time unanimously selected as chaiiman. In the 
latter part of 1895, Sir James Binnie published a scheme for supplying the Metropolis with water from 
the valleys of the Usk and the Wye, and the County Council appointed a Committee to guard the 
interests of Brecknock. They did not, however, seem to appreciate the tremendous effect that the 
abstraction of so vast a flood of water might have upon the future interest of the county. The 
London scheme was for the time withdrawn. 


Tarrall Bridge stands hard by the Brecon Prison, which had in 1878 been transferred to the 
Government. Between the Bridge and the Prison was a waste space, a few yards in breadth, which 
gave access to the river, and essential both for repairs of the bridge and for the public to obtain 
water for cattle and domestic use. The Prison Commissioners built a wall across this space, claiming 

1 A full description of the undertaking, ami of tlie Opening Ceremonies, will be found in the History of Radnorshire 
(1U00: Davies and Co.. Publishers, Brecon. 30s.) 


the ground as part of the precincts. Brecknock objected thai the wall was not on ground belonging 
to the Commissioners, and that it caused inconvenience : all existing rights of way had been reserved 
by the conveyance which bore dale March, 1882. Early in 1897 an arrangement was come to by 
which access to the river was secured for the county to maintain the bridge and for the public to 
water cattle, or to obtain water for other purposes. The obnoxious wall was removed, and it. was 
arranged that a gate should be provided by the Prison Commissioners, but we do not remem- 
ber ever having seen this erected. 'The piece of wall in dispute was on the Brecon end of the bridge, 
near to the boundary wall of the Prison. 


The Brecknock and Radnor part-ownership of the Abergavenny Asylum having come to an end, 
it was necessary for the two counties jointly or separately to provide house accommodation for their 
pauper lunatics, and on the 15th of March the Council determined that Brecknock should act with 
Radnor in providing a joint asylum ; a committee was therefore appointed. The agreement with 
Radnor did not mature rapidly : that county feared that a site inconvenient for their patients might 
be selected. The Brecknock Council hoped that an agreement might be arrived at, but felt, it im- 
peratively necessary at once to provide accommodation for the pauper lunatics of Brecknock. They 
selected Cefn Brynich. near to Brecon, and the owner. Viscount Tredegar, though he did not. wish 
to sell, intimated that he would not stand in the way of public improvement. When, however, this 
site was inspected by Mr. C. S. Bagot. Commissioner in Lunacy, it was considered that the farm 
was too near the Brecon sewage outfall, and that the supply of water was insufficient. 

Pending the completion of the Asylum, an arrangement was made with the Monmouth County 
Council to receive Brecknock and Radnor patients at a weekly charge of two shillings and threepence 
a head, the number of patients to be limited to that at that, time in the Asylum, and the contract 
to remain in force until 31st December, 1808. Radnor still held aloof, and considered that the Cefn 
Brynich site was too distant from their boundary, and further feared that in the selection of a site 
their interests would be neglected. Brecknock, therefore, communicated with Herefordshire with a 
view to having a joint, asylum at. Burghill. To this scheme the Lunacy Commissioners offered a 
strenuous opposition, and it was abandoned. A fresh site with farm house, buildings, and 164 acres of 
land was now discovered. Lower Porthamal, near Three Cocks Railway Station : it had every require- 
ment, as a site for a lunatic asylum, but legal difficulties occurred, and this site was also abandoned. 

In the meantime an agreeement had been come to between the counties of Brecknock and Radnor 

which ultimately took effect in the following form: — " It is agreed this .... day , 1896, 

between the Visiting Committees for the administrative counties of Brecknock and Radnor, that the 
said counties shall henceforth be united for the purposes of the Lunacy Act, 1890, and subsequent 

Acts, and that an Asylum for the reception of not less than 350 lunatics shall be immediately 

provided to be erected on a site in the County of Brecon, and that the necessary expenses 

for building and maintenance shall be defrayed by the said counties in proportion to their respective 
populations as stated in the last, preceding census ; for the time being Committees shall be appointed 
in the following proportions, Breconshire three-fifths, Radnorshire two-fifths. It is further agreed that 
in the event of a dissolution of partnership at any future time the interest of each county .... 
shall be valued as follows : a valuation shall be made of all .... property belonging to the 
partnership at the date of dissolution subject to liabilities .... and the property of the Joint 
Asylum so valued shall lie divided between the counties in proportion to the amounts which they 
shall have respectively contributed thereto . . . , etc." The last recited clause was inserted 
to protect Radnor against, a repetition of the financial trouble which had overtaken the county 
under the arbitration with the County of Monmouth at the close of the agreement as to Abergavenny 

The task of valuing stock at Abergavenny Asylum had been left to Dr. Glendinning, the medical 
superintendent at Abergavenny, and on January 19, 1907, he reported the value at the date of 
dissolution of partnership to have been : — Stock in stores and farming stock, implements, and crops, 
£6,286 lis. lOd. ; stock in artizans' shops. £715 5s. Id.; balance at bankers, £7,059 8s. 6d. ; expenditure 
on capital from 31st March, 1894, to 31st December, 1896, £1,772 L6s. 9d. Total, £15,834 2s. 2d. 
The share of Brecknock in this property amounted to £2,729 19s. Od. 

Several possible sites were now suggested for the new asylum, three of which were selected by a 
sub-committee. Messrs Giles, Gough, and Trollope had been chosen as architects, and the three sites 
were reported on by Mr. Gough. That ultimately selected was the Chancefield site, comprising about 
160 acres, and lying about three-quarters of a mile from the town of Talgarth. There was a good 
plateau for building, well sheltered from the north and east, and an ample supply of good water in 


such a position as enabled it to be brought by gravitation to any part of the building. There was 
excellent stone, and good bricks could be made from clay on the site, and the land lay well for 
drainage irrigation. The Committee entered into a conditional contract for the purchase of the 
Chancefield property for £7,250, and after inspection by I lie Lunacy Commissioners it was finally 
bought. Arrangements were made with the tenant for immediate possession. 

It will he remembered that the Brecon and Radnor patients had been received at Abergavenny 
Asylum, the contract ending at the close of the year 1898. That time had now arrived, and the new 
asylum had not even been begun ; the Monmouth Council entered into a fresh contract (30th August, 
1899) to maintain for five years from January 1st, 1899, Brecknock patients al a cost (if 5s. 6d. 
a head per week in excess of the actual cost of maintenance, the agreement terminable on six 
months' notice ; and the Secretary of State approved the contract September, 1898. 

Plans of the proposed Asylum were prepared by Mr Gough, the selected architect, and an estimate 
of cost arrived at as follows '—Asylum, £107,200; reservoir, £2,808; site, £Si,(MH) ; road from Talgarth, 
£1,700 ; furnishing, £6,000 ; electric lighting, £3,000; boundaries and roads, £2,000; sewage works, 
£250; clerk of the works, £600 ; architect's fees, £5,000. Total, £135,558. Altogether, it seemed 
probable that the total cost would amount to £140,000, of which the contribution of Brecknock would 
be £98,314 2s. 3d. At the meeting of the County Council, October 1898, it had been resolved to 
apply to this purpose the sum awarded by Mr. Birrell and Dr. Glendinning, representing the share 
of Brecknock in the Abergavenny Asylum, together amounting to £29,0S6 ; to this was added £475 
Is 6d, the proceeds of the sale of the Angel Inn. Brecon, the property of the county as already stated. 
This left a sum of £68,807 to be provided, and this amount was in excess of the borrowing powers 
of the county. A provisional order was obtained, and sanction by Parliament (No. 71. 1898), and 
the money was finally borrowed from the Public Works Loans Commissioners, the required sum 
repayable in 28 years at 3 per cent. Tenders were applied for, and the work was undertaken by 
Messrs. Watkin Williams, of Pontypridd, contractors. 

The first work undertaken was the new approach to the Asylum from Talgarth, the tender of 
Messrs. Batchelor and Snowdon, Cardiff, being accepted, the amount being £1,591 15s 7d, of which 
Brecknock was to pay £1,117 16s 4d. On October 11th, 1900. the Committee of Visitors reported 
the completion of the water supply, and that good progress had been generally made. 

The building of the Asylum was continued in the years 1901-4. The water rights of Lord 
Ashburnham, as owner of Talgarth Mill, were in the autumn of 1901 purchased by the two counties 
for a sum of £500. The town of Talgarth, being desirous of improving its water supply, agreed to 
take the surplus water from the Asylum reservoir ; the District authorities applied also for leave to 
erect the town reservoir and filter beds on the Asylum property, and a lease of half an acre was 
granted for a term of 99 years at a yearly rent of £2. Wernfawr, a farm adjoining the Chancefield 
Estate, was, in September, 1902, purchased by the two counties for £3,200, with timber valued at 
£354, in all £3,554. 

In February, 1903, the Asylum was formally opened, and in the course of the following month 
the patients who had been kept at Abergavenny were moved into their new home. Dr. Ernest Jones 
had, in the autumn of 1902, been appointed medical superintendent. 

In order to complete the narrative of this important work, we have anticipated the entries in 
county records for the years 1899-1904 ; but we must return to the documents for information re- 
lating to minor matters which may or may not be considered of sufficient importance to form part 
of the permanent history of the county. 


The local boundaries, as we have already seen, were much under discussion, and they must again 
be referred to. The representative county of Brecon differs from the geographical county in that the 
whole of each urban district was placed in the county in which the majority of inhabitants resided. 
Thus a portion of Aberystruth parish, of small population but large rateable value, now part of 
Brynmawr urban district, had been placed in Brecknock, while Beaufort, Rassa, Duke's Town, and 
Lleclirhyd, being within the urban districts of Ebbw Yale, Tredegar, and Rhymney, had been placed 
in the county of Monmouth. This the Monmouth County Council, in the pecuniary interest of 
Monmouth, now sought to reverse ; the interests of the county were entrusted to a local committee, 
and an inquiry was held at Ebbw Vale. In the result the present boundaries of the administrative 
county were left unchanged, 

On August 7th, 1896, the parish of Llanelly made application for division into wards for the 
election of a Parish Council ; the parish was divided into an eastern or Gilwern ward, to be repre- 
sented on the Council by seven members, and a western ward named Llanelly to be eight Councillors. 


About the same time the parish of Llanelly was transferred from Crickhowell to Brynmawr Petty 
Sessional District , the salary of the Justices ' Clerk being raised I" f 160 If was desired also to make 
a division of non-ecclesiastical charities between the part of Llanelly now added to Brynmawr and 
the rural parish; the two parishes failed to agree upon a principle of division, and the matter has 
never been carried out. 

In the settlement of local areas in IS94, the Poor Law Unions liad been left unaltered, and in 
many cases transgressed the boundaries of counties. Llanwrtyd and Llandulas, two parishes in the 
hundred of Builth. were administered as part of the Carmarthen Union of Llandovery; they were now 
desired to lie transferred for all purposes to the Union of Builth. A local inquiry was held, and 
on February 19th, 1897, it was announced by the Local Government Board that Llanwrtyd and 
Llandulas should be annexed to Builth for all purposes, the order I" take effect from March 26th, 
1897. An almost laughable incident of Ideal government was the claim ot Llandulas to be admin- 
istered by a Parish Council, the whole number of electors in the parish hem,; It: but the Council 
declined to accede to I he ambition of so small a locality. Glyntawe met with better success, the 
County Council resolving on the 19th April. 1895, that a Parish Council with five members should 
be established. 


In the extreme south of the county, the Glamorganshire main road passed for a mile and a half 
through the county of Brecknock, from Hirwaun bridge to Cwmynis Minton; the road had. up to 
the passing of the Local (lovernment Act of 1888, been repaired by the Glamorgan authority. The 
Act imposed on the county of Breconshire the duty of repairing all main mads within its limits; 
each county repudiated the obligation, and the piece of road in dispute had accordingly fallen into 
bad repair. In 1 s < t r. a. lawsuit took place between the two counties, and on April 14th, ls!i7. the 
judgment of the High Court was given in favour of Glamorgan. Brecknock did not appeal and will 
henceforth repair the road. 

The Borough of Brecon made sundry claims under the Local Government Acts as against the county. 
and the matter was submitted to arbitration ; the award published in January, 1S'.I7, was to the effect 
that "there were no matters requiring adjustment, ami that the costs of the arbitration were to fall 
on the Borough." 

The parish of Ystradfellte, a Brecknoc